Arts & Humanties Reviews | September 1, 2013

redstarHemingway, Ernest. The Letters of Ernest Hemingway. Vol. 2: 1923–1925. Cambridge Univ. Oct. 2013. 700p. ed. by Sandra Spanier & others. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780521897341. $40. LIT

This second installment of Hemingway’s collected letters, now projected to run to 17 volumes, contains 242 letters, two-thirds of which are previously unpublished. Correspondents include family, youthful companions, and literary luminaries such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Robert McAlmon. The letters document the significant role Hemingway (1889–1961) played in promoting the work of his friends in literary journals such as Transition and This Quarter, as well as his stylistic development leading to the publication of In Our Time (1925) and The Sun Also Rises (1926). Hemingway’s letter-writing style is generally playful. Overall, the letters provide a portrait of the author as son, husband, father, and friend—an ordinary American embodying both the values and prejudices of his time. Included are a useful introduction, detailed notes, and a 15-page chronology for the years covered. VERDICT Hemingway did not want his letters published, but this carefully researched scholarly edition does them justice. Carlos Baker’s 1981 edition of Hemingway’s Selected Letters may suffice for casual readers; however, devotees will find this and future volumes indispensable.—­William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY

Henry, David & Joe Henry. Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him. Algonquin. Nov. 2013. 320p. bibliog. ISBN 9781616200787. $25.95. HUMOR

The latest biography of “the world’s most brilliant stand-up comedian” is the culmination of a project that took more than a decade (originally intended as a three-act screenplay) by screenwriter Henry and his brother, musician Joe. Born in 1940 in Peoria, IL, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III was raised by his grandmother, who ran a brothel in which his mother “also turned tricks.” Raped at five by a teenage bully (who, decades later, appeared with his son seeking Pryor’s autograph), Pryor found respite from his oppressive childhood by acting in local theater. Leaving the first of six wives and his first two (of seven) children, Pryor arrived in New York City in 1963, embarking on a career that spanned clubs, television, and film, finding unparalleled success as a black performer in a racially stratified industry. Universally lauded as a genius, Pryor never overcame his drug addictions, spectacularly exemplified by his 1980 freebasing-induced self-immolation. VERDICT More a compilation of assiduous research than a narrative—with irreverent profanity that echoes Pryor’s performances—this book should succeed in introducing a legend to new generations. Readers raised on dystopia will find Pryor’s life tragically epic.—Terry Hong, Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

redstarHart, Addison Hodges. The Ox-Herder and the Good Shepherd: Finding Christ on the Buddha’s Path. Eerdmans. 2013. 112p. illus. ISBN 9780802867582. pap. $15. REL

Zen Buddhism’s classic Ten Oxherding Pictures originated with Chinese Chan Master Kakuan around 1200 CE and has served for centuries to illustrate Mahayana Buddhism’s path to enlightenment. Hart (former college chaplain, Northern Illinois Univ.; Knowing Darkness: Reflections on Skepticism, Melancholy, Friendship, and God) first encountered the pictures in Paul Reps’s Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (1957) and here continues to draw upon their treatment including in D.T. Suzuki’s Manual of Zen Buddhism (1960) and Philip Kapleau’s Three Pillars of Zen (1965). Encouraging Christians to find Jesus and God via the contemplative tradition implicit in this iconic set, Hart presents copies of the ten original drawings as well as his reworking of Kakuan’s accompanying poems and commentary. He then offers his own simple, clear, even elegant explication of embedded Christian meaning with references to the works of such Western writers as St. John of the Cross and Martin Buber as well as to Dante’s The Divine Comedy, The Philokalia, and the Bible. VERDICT Most highly recommended for all seekers no matter their preferred path.—James R. Kuhlman, Kentucky Wesleyan Coll., Owensboro

The following titles are reviewed in the September 1, 2013 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Baarsen, Reinier. Paris 1650–1900: Decorative Arts in the Rijksmuseum. Yale Univ. 2013. 608p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780300191295. $275. DEC ARTS

Cox, Julian & others. Controversy and Hope: The Civil Rights Photographs of James Karales. Univ. of South Carolina. 2013. 176p. bibliog. ISBN 9781611171570. $39.95; pap. ISBN 9781611171587. $24.95. photog

Dumbadze, Alexander. Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere. Univ. of Chicago. 2013. 208p. notes. ISBN 9780226038537. $27.50; ebk. ISBN 9780226038674. FINE ARTS

Martin, Barnaby. Hanging Man: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei. Faber & Faber. Sept. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9780374167752. $28. FINE ARTS


redstarAls, Hilton. White Girls. McSweeney’s. Nov. 2013. 344p. ISBN 9781936365814. $24. LIT

Clabough, Casey. George Garrett: A Critical Biography. Texas Review. Sept. 2013. 240p. bibliog. ISBN 9781937875008. pap. $22.95. LIT

The Oxford Anthology of Roman Literature. Oxford Univ. Oct. 2013. 640p. ed. by Peter E. Knox & J.C. McKeown. index. ISBN 9780195395167. pap. $35. LIT

Parsipur, Shahrnush. Kissing the Sword: A Prison Memoir. Feminist Pr. at CUNY. 2013. 240p. tr. by Sara Khalili. ISBN 9781558618169. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781558618176. LIT

redstarRed Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature. Sarabande, dist. by Consortium. (Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature). Oct. 2013. 248p. ed. by John Branscum & Wayne Thomas. ISBN 9781936747665. pap. $16.95. LIT

Ward, Jesmyn. Men We Reaped: A Memoir. Bloomsbury. Sept. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9781608195213. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781608197576. LIT


Cantwell, David. Merle Haggard: The Running Kind. Univ. of Texas. (American Music). Sept. 2013. 244p. discog. ISBN 9780292717718. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9780292754171. MUSIC

Margotin, Philippe & Jean-Michel Guesdon. All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release. Black Dog & Leventhal. Oct. 2013. 672p. photos. index. ISBN 9781579129521. $50. MUSIC

Schultz, William Todd. Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2013. 368p. notes. ISBN 9781608199730. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781620403785. MUSIC

redstarSharp, Ken & others. Nothin’ To Lose: The Making of Kiss (1972–1975). It: HarperCollins. Sept. 2013. 560p. photos. notes. ISBN 9780062131720. $28.99. MUSIC

Teachout, Terry. Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington. Gotham: Penguin. Oct. 2013. 480p. photos. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781592407491. $30. MUSIC


Friedman, Maurice. My Friendship with Martin Buber. Syracuse Univ. 2013. 200p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780815610168. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780815652144. PHIL


Kleinzahler, August. The Hotel Oneira: Poems. Farrar. Oct. 2013. 112p. ISBN 9780374172930. $24. POETRY

Lax, Robert. Poems (1962–1997). Wave. Nov. 2013. 400p. ed. by John Beer. ISBN 9781933517766. pap. $25. POETRY

redstarRilke, Rainer Maria. Rilke: New Poems. Copper Canyon. Sept. 2013. 410p. tr. from German by Joe Cadora. ISBN 9781556594243. $40. POETRY


Beckett, Wendy. Spiritual Letters. Orbis. Sept. 2013. 325p. illus. ISBN 9781626980518. pap. $35. REL

Haubner, Jack. Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk. Shambhala, dist. by Random. 2013. 240p. ISBN 9781611800333. pap. $14.95. REL

Kraybill, Donald B. & others. The Amish. Johns Hopkins. 2013. 520p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781421409146. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421409153. $29.95. REL

Lloyd, Samuel T. Sermons from the National Cathedral: Soundings for the Journey. Rowman & Littlefield. 2013. 304p. notes. ISBN 9781442222847. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781442222854. REL


Anderson, Chris & David Sally. The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong. Penguin. 2013. 384p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780143124566. pap. $16. SPORTS