Re: RARA-AVIS: Gruber's Pulp Jungle

From: E.Borgers (
Date: 28 Sep 2006

I rather am of the same opinion as Juri about PULP JUNGLE. I think it is an interesting read only if you have already some good notions about the who's who of the old pulps and PBs. It's not a good
"introduction" book. Gruber mixes heavily his kind of memoirs (and a collection of reports about contacts with other writers he had at the time), with interesting points about the writer's "craft", tricks of the trade and contacts with publishers. The edition I red was from 1967. A French translation of this book keeps the subtitle: 'Memoirs of an American crime writer', which describes well what it is basically.. But if you know already about HB history and have read more than only a few of the writers mentioned by Gruber, yes it is an interesting read. To have insights and some reality about the life a "genre" writer, it is even more interesting (but has to be interpreted in function of the period corresponding to the time when all of his "reports"/memoirs took place). I think that the "exaggerated" importance given to Gruber's book as reference comes from a time (the sixties) when very few books were speaking of pulp writers, and not much more being real (and extended) essays about history of the genre or pulps themselves, in the USA. So, many specialist books on these subjects, afterwards, were automatically carrying PULP JUNGLE in their reference/bibliography section. But, do not misunderstand me, it is definitely a book to be red by aficionados.


Juri Nummelin :
> I haven't read the book myself (which is a surprise even to me!),
> but it's considered a bit unreliable when it comes to other
> authors. Gruber was prejudiced against many and he may exaggerate
> his own importance. I've read some of his crime novels and
> Westerns and they've all been pretty good, but I don't think he'd
> be remembered so much, if he hadn't written PULP JUNGLE.
> And still about the pulps, if you want to know everything there's
> really need to know about the hardboiled crime pulps, do read THE
> DIME DETECTIVES, by Ron Goulart. With Server's book I think
> that's the essential reading.
> Juri


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