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American Noir: 11 Classic Crime Novels of the 1930s, 40s, & 50s (Library of America) Hardcover


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American Noir: 11 Classic Crime Novels of the 1930s, 40s, & 50s (Library of America) + David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s and 50s (Library of America) + American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America
  • Hardcover: 1882 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; Box edition (April 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598531530
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598531534
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 2.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ROBERT POLITO, editor, is a poet, biographer, and critic whose Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson received the National Book Critics Circle Award. He directs the Graduate Writing Program at the New School and is the editor of David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s & 50s, also from The Library of America.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 81 people found the following review helpful By johnshade on May 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I've read enough of these (the Cain, Highsmith, Fearing, Thompson and Willeford selections) to know that this set is filled with classics and is really quite a bargain. I write to add more detail from the publisher's website, since there is no information on Amazon's page as to what's included.

"The eleven novels in The Library of America's adventurous two-volume collection represent a rich vein of modern American writing too often neglected in mainstream literary histories. Tapping deep roots in the American literary imagination, they explore themes of crime, guilt, deception, obsessive passion, murder, and the disintegrating psyche.
"James M. Cain's pioneering novel of murder and adultery along the California highway, The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934), which shocked contemporaries with its laconic toughness and fierce sexuality.
"Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935) uses truncated rhythms and a unique narrative structure to turn its account of a Hollywood dance marathon into an unforgettable evocation of social chaos and personal desperation.
"In Thieves Like Us (1937), Edward Anderson vividly brings to life the dusty roads and back-country hideouts where a fugitive band of Oklahoma outlaws plays out its destiny.
"The Big Clock (1946), an ingenious novel of pursuit and evasion by the poet Kenneth Fearing, is set by contrast in the dense and neurotic inner world of a giant publishing corporation under the thumb of a warped and murderous chief executive.
"William Lindsay Gresham's controversial Nightmare Alley (1946), a ferocious psychological portrait of a charismatic carnival hustler, creates an unforgettable atmosphere of duplicity, corruption, and self-destruction.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Library of America has been making available many byways of American writing together with the works of writers such as, for example, Melville, Whitman, and Henry James. Among the writing the series presents is American noir, frequently denigrated as "pulp" fiction or "trash". The term "noir" is difficult to define. Noir writing is similar to harboiled, terse detective fiction. But its focus tends to be on lonely, isolated, alientated characters, on criminals or those accused of crime as opposed to detectives. Settings can be formulaic such as bars and cheap apartments. The characters are often tough, down-and-out with a past, and addicted to femme fatales. Sexuality is always a strong theme. Noir writing is atmospheric with a strong sense of place. It frequently is surprisingly introspective with moral themes not far below the surface.

This two-volume LOA set, which includes eleven novels by as many writers offers a broad introduction to noir. The first volume includes six novels from the 1930's and 1940's Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s and 40s: The Postman Always Rings Twice / They Shoot Horses, Don't They? / Thieves Like Us / The Big Clock / ... a Dead Man (Library of America) (Vol 1) while the second volume includes five novels from the 1950's Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1950s: The Killer Inside Me / The Talented Mr. Ripley / Pick-up / Down There / The Real Cool Killers (Library of America) (Vol 2). Noir literature is intertwined closely with noir movies, and each of the eleven books in this anthology has been filmed.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By matthew l nagunst on August 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Great collection of stories by some very amazing crime genre writers. If you are at all a fan of the murder mystery of the fatalistic feel of Bogart cop movies, these will surely satisfy!
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By Bruce McDowell on February 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Something for everyone, Postman Rings Twice is amazing. They shoot horses don't they took me back to a Jane Fonda movie I didn't understand at the time.
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