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Accidentally, on Purpose: The Making of a Personal Injury Underworld in America 
by Ken Dornstein.
Macmillan, 452 pp., £19.50, December 1996, 9780333674574
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... Shirley Hill of Dallas, partial to faking falls on pats of butter in restaurants; the nicely named Kenneth Arnold Parsley, maestro of supermarket tumbles on broken eggs and melted ice cream; the extraordinary ‘Mint Jelly’ Ridge, often found lying on the floor of a restaurant or hotel bathroom covered in blood and gashed, having slithered on a square-inch ...

The Balboan View

Kenneth Silverman: Alfred Kinsey, 7 May 1998

Alfred Kinsey: A Public/Private Life 
by James Jones.
Norton, 937 pp., £28, October 1997, 0 393 04086 0
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... The history of publishing records no unlikelier-looking candidate for bestsellerdom. Written by a professor of zoology at the University of Indiana, it appeared in 1948 under the imprint of a medical textbook house, the W.B. Saunders Company of Philadelphia. Weighing three pounds, its 804 pages confronted readers with 162 tables and 173 graphs. Yet it flooded out in a first printing of 100,000 copies, excited more than five hundred articles and reviews, and was declared by Time magazine to be the greatest bookselling event since Gone with the Wind ...

Mganga with the Lion

Kenneth Silverman: Hemingway, 2 September 1999

Hemingway: The Thirties 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 360 pp., £9.95, October 1998, 0 393 31778 1
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Hemingway: The Final Years 
by Michael Reynolds.
Norton, 416 pp., £19.95, July 1999, 0 393 04748 2
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True at First Light 
by Ernest Hemingway.
Heinemann, 319 pp., £16.99, July 1999, 9780434008322
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... Michael Reynolds is the marrying kind of biographer: president of the Hemingway Society, he has published a 140-page annotated chronology of Hemingway’s life, a 2300-item inventory of Hemingway’s reading, and a monograph-length study of the creation of A Farewell to Arms, as well as three serial volumes of biography: The Young Hemingway (1986); Hemingway: The Paris Years (1989); and Hemingway: The American Homecoming (1992 ...

Poe’s Woes

Julian Symons, 23 April 1992

Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance 
by Kenneth Silverman.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £25, March 1992, 9780297812531
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... author was paid at the rate of $4 per 600-word page, perhaps $50 in all. One merit of Professor Silverman’s biography is that it is almost wholly factual, reminding us that to his contemporaries Poe was known and feared as a sharp, at times venomous critic, much less regarded as a poet and writer of stories in tune with the current fashion for Gothic ...

Pretty Letters

Megan Marshall: The Death of Edgar Allan Poe, 21 February 2008

Poe: A Life Cut Short 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 170 pp., £15.99, February 2008, 978 0 7011 6988 6
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... we would like to read – and it is the phantom that continues to beckon biographers to his story. Kenneth Silverman has given the most complete and satisfying account to date in his Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance (1991). Marie Bonaparte’s psychoanalytic biography of 1933 (English translation, 1949), with an introduction by Sigmund ...


Peter Robins: Gary Indiana, 25 July 2002

Depraved Indifference 
by Gary Indiana.
HarperCollins, 336 pp., $24.95, January 2002, 0 06 019726 9
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... of villains, you must remember that their originals are the even less plausible-sounding Sante, Kenneth and Kenny Kimes. If you think it a bit much to have them arrested on slavery charges and then carrying on as if nothing has happened, or to have their scams involve Gerald Ford and Pat Nixon, or to have the man who sells them illegal guns explain how to ...

Capitalism’s Capital

Jackson Lears: The Man Who Built New York, 17 March 2016

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York 
by Robert Caro.
Bodley Head, 1246 pp., £35, July 2015, 978 1 84792 364 6
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... Cohen Moses, was a strong-willed woman like her own mother, the ‘flashingly imperious’ Rosalie Silverman Cohen. The Cohens were part of the German-Jewish elite that profited from mercantile enterprise, assimilated to secular enlightenment values and, two generations on, produced the likes of Walter Lippmann and J. Robert Oppenheimer – cultivated Jewish ...

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