Re: RARA-AVIS: HB nonfiction -- uh, this is probably off-topic

Ned Fleming (
Thu, 02 Jul 1998 23:25:12 GMT On Thu, 2 Jul 1998 00:03:45 -0500 (CDT), Bill Hagen wrote:

> Mention of a piece on Liston reminds me that Norman Mailer has done some
>nice work on boxers (as well as murderers), but not sure I'd call him HB,
>though _Armies of the Night_ (March on Pentagon) had some passages as
>good as any Chandler "rants." What used to be called the New Journalists,
>early Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, Ed Abbey, and some of the underground
>press writers (Paul Krassner, editor of _The Realist_), had moments of
>hard-edged lucidity -- along with the posturing.

Interesting to note that the recommendations for HB non-fiction have
included some biographies. While Robert Conquest's _Kolyma: The Arctic
Death Camps_ and _Stalin: Breaker of Nations_ and Zhisui Li's _The
Private Life of Chairman Mao: The Memoirs of Mao's Personal Physician_
are in no way hard-boiled *writing*, they certainly do cover a couple of
the hardest-boiled characters ever. These were mafioso dons without a
glint of law inhibiting their actions.

The sheer cunning of the Soviet secret police to march someone, anyone,
down into the cells of Lubyanka and make them confess to anything is
absolutely ingenious. China's late 1950s drive to become a steel
producer on par with Great Britain, by melting pots and pans in backyard
steel "mills," is absurdly hilarious -- were it not now known the real
and devastating effects this truly had.

Off topic? Sure. Sorry.

Ned Fleming
# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# The web pages for the list are at