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American Pulp Paperback – September, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers; 1st Carroll & Graf ed edition (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786704616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786704613
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,919,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Or American Digest, since editors Gorman and Greenberg (Love Kills, p. 595, etc.), joined by veteran Pronzini (A Wasteland of Strangers, p. 914, etc.), contend that the true high-water mark of short noir fiction was the period from 1950 to 1970, after Black Mask and its ilk had already been killed off by inexpensive paperbacks and TV, and digests like Manhunt and Pursuit reigned supreme. In evidence they offer a monster collection of 35 stories running the gamut from ironic anecdotes (Evan Hunter, Mickey Spillane, Donald E. Westlake, John Lutz, James Reasoner, Frederic Brown, John Jakes) to hard-boiled whodunits (Marcia Muller, Robert J. Randisi, Richard S. Prather, Craig Rice) to substantial novellas (Talmage Powell, Norbert Davis, Leigh Brackett, Richard Matheson). The real revelation is how many of these alleged actioners (like those by Vin Packer, David Goodis, Wade Miller, and Herbert Kastle) work most effectively as mood pieces in the manner of Poe, their great progenitor. A bargain--only $12.95 for 560 pages of the stuff your mother warned you to keep away from. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Pulp" stories/fiction/magazines are defined by a specific era and form of American literature. In the Introduction, the editors state this, that the period was from about 1920 to about 1950, then proceed to say most of the stories were cliched and godawful. OK, that's fine, but surely you've collected some of the cliche-lite, not-so-god-awful ones, right? Wrong! The collection of stories is from the 50's to the late 90's, AFTER the pulp era. Are there Victorian novels written in the 60's? Surely there were many that appeared Victorian, but that is after the period is defined. I was looking for stories from that era, the godawful and the brilliant.
Look at this quote on Amazon...
"Ingram
Collects the best American crime stories ever published, culled from the pulp magazines of the thirties, forties, and fifties and featuring such titles as ""Dime Detective,"" ""Black Mask,"" and ""The Shadow."" Original."
What the hell?!?!? This has NOTHING to do with this collection. There a handful of stories from the 30's through the 50's, and a ton from the 80's and 90's. Totally misleading and disappointing - not the collection I had hoped for.
Would it have been detestable to gather up a few dozen great stories from that era and actually publish a definitive American Pulp collection?
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This anthology has a number of stories from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, which are well outside the range of time when anything which could reasonably be called pulp fiction was published. Some of these stories are bad beyond belief. The editorial introductions lack all discernment, and the editors can't seem to tell the good from the unbelievably horrendous. Some of the stories are good, notably the one by David Goodis, but overall the quality is low. The book seems to have been thrown together to capitalize on the movie Pulp Fiction. You'd be well advised not to waste your time or your money on this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, ignore the blurb book description for "American Pulp"- "The best American crime stories ever published anywhere in the world"- that's just silly. If it doesn't include Chandler or Hammett, it isn't "The best American crime stories ever published". But that is a problem with the blurb- not the book. The Kirkus Reviews description is very good and accurate- "...they offer a monster collection of 35 stories running the gamut from ironic anecdotes ... to hard-boiled whodunits to substantial novellas." Basing expectations on that description resulted in a very favorable experience.

While the term "pulp" originated with the magazines published on low quality pulp paper and containing stories written for a penny or two a word, the term endures for those stories that retain the "pulp" tradition of slightly lurid and sensational (but rarely with graphic violence) stories and often a cynical "hard-boiled" detective. The editors believe that pulp stories from the 50s and 60s are even better than the original pulps of the 30s and 40s. But while there is a preponderance of stories from that era, they have included a handful of earlier stories and seven or eight from the last three decades of the twentieth century. I don't completely agree with their judgment on this, but every story in this collection is true pulp. And while I liked some more than others, there are no "clunkers".

Best of all, these 37 stories cover the broad spectrum of pulp. From the humor infused "Murder in Two Parts" by Norbert Davis (1937) to the gritty and cynical "I'm a Dirty Girl" by Marthayn Pelegrimas (1997), this anthology is an enjoyable introduction to the world of pulp. I didn't love every story in the book- I'm more a Hammett, Chandler, Brown fan- but it did introduce some writers I'm going to pursue. Already picked up two of Davis's Doan and Carstairs novels and L. J. Washburn's first Hallam novel. One book leads to another.... :)
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