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The Days of the Bitter End [Kindle Edition]

Jack Engelhard
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.95
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Book Description

Jack Engelhard's The Days of the Bitter End may well be the definitive word on the 1960s. This is a landmark book, masterfully evocative. Engelhard once again proves himself to be a truly great novelist in this beautifully crafted historical novel that recaptures an era that has left an indelible mark on our culture to this day. Read it and laugh, read it and weep, because it's all here, the way it was back then, the age of innocence soon to be shattered, but then reborn. This is what it was like to be young, every moment an adventure. Brilliant.

Reviews

"It's all here...masterfully written by one of the greatest novelists of our Age. Engelhard brings to bear his journalistic talents as well as matchless storytelling ability to put the reader right in the center of the action...of the story...of the times.”

- John W. Cassell, author of Crossroads: 1969

"What a great story. If you missed the 60s – if you missed the excitement, the passion, the radicalism, the thrills, the hopes and dreams – this book brings it all alive. I could not put it down."

- Kmgroup review

"Another significant accomplishment from this versatile writer, and it resonates with the sort of dialogue and imagery that not only rings with credibility, but instantly evokes a 'you are there' feeling for the reader."

- Nancy Sundstrom, Northern Express

"Engelhard's writing is superb, and he offers up a slice of 1960s life that is vibrant and moving. The story is skillfully crafted, quite witty and intriguing."

- Carie Morrison, Rambles.net

About the Author:

Contemporaries have hailed novelist Jack Engelhard as "the last Hemingway" and of being "a writer without peer and the conscience of us all." The New York Times commended the economy of his prose... "precise, almost clinical language." His bestselling novel Indecent Proposal made him internationally famous as the foremost chronicler of moral dilemmas and of topics dealing with temptation. Works that followed won him an even greater following, such as Escape from Mount Moriah, his book of memoirs that won awards for writing and for film. His latest novel Compulsive draws us into the mind of a compulsive gambler in a work stunningly brilliant and original, and seductively readable. Engelhard writes a weekly column for The Washington Times. His website: www.jackengelhard.com



Editorial Reviews

Review

Set against the backdrop of a monumental news event that touched the lives of all Americans (the assassination of John F. Kennedy) The Days of the Bitter End vividly takes us back to an era that dominates our culture to this very day. The novel captures the passion, and the drama of the 60s, as it recreates the idealism that was won at the emergence of JFK, and then lost at the onset of Vietnam.

Jack Engelhard's book is a true original, especially in the author's masterful portrayal of his fictional Cliff Harris, the comedian whose career was based solely upon his talent to imitate our most glamorous president -- and who thereby personifies not only JFK, but the entire spectrum of that pulsating era.

The novel brings to life the people, places and events that made the 60s so indelible, and Engelhard succeeds in bringing his vision to the fore as he sets before us a Greenwich Village -- the focal point of the novel and the 60s -- that throbs "to the beat of bongo- drums."...

In a sense, Bitter End is the story of the rise and fall of Cliff Harris, from Philadelphia obscurity to America's most popular comedian. Cliff is a superb impersonator who does JFK so well that Jackie could hardly tell the difference. He is a mainstay of that strange postwar institution, the Ed Sullivan Show. But when the dashing young president is gunned down, what becomes of his shadow? You probably won't guess right. Bitter End is a classy and classical novel with the triple unities of time, place and action. Yet it brings to life the sixties scene with all its exuberance, fun sex and pot-smoking, and devious police informing. It is Engelhard's most heartfelt work to date, easy to read, easy to like, but hard to forget. Like that day in November when a lot of us lost our innocence. -- Michael Foster, Author of Three in Love(Harper/Collins)

From the Publisher

Set against the backdrop of a monumental news event that touched the lives of all Americans — the assassination of John F. Kennedy — The Days of the Bitter End vividly takes us back to an era that dominates our culture to this very day. The novel captures the passion, and the drama of the 60s, as it recreates the idealism that was won at the emergence of JFK, and then lost at the onset of Vietnam.

Jack Engelhard’s book is a true original, especially in the author’s masterful portrayal of his fictional Cliff Harris, the comedian whose career was based solely upon his talent to imitate our most glamorous president — and who thereby personifies not only JFK, but the entire spectrum of that pulsating era.

The novel brings to life the people, places and events that made the 60s so indelible, and Engelhard succeeds in bringing his vision to the fore as he sets before us a Greenwich Village — the focal point of the novel and the 60s — that throbs "to the beat of bongo-drums." . . .

We all was somewhere the day President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. Those of us old enough, say in our mid-forties now, remember exactly where we heard the news. Those too young or not yet born on November 22, 1963 are nonetheless still paying for the events of the day the world stopped on its axis and began to spin the other way. Certainly, Jack Engelhard remembers, and so would each of the memorable characters from his latest novel, The Days Of the Bitter End.

For Ben Jaffa, doorman at the Bitter End, a popular club on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village—the tough young man closest to Jack’s own experience — the November day punctuated his growing alienation from the Village scene, his three buddies, Richie, Howie, and Cliff, and his girlfriend Louise Carmen, whom he shares with Richie. Ben is a perennial exile, a refugee from Nazi-occupied France who is at home anywhere and no place. At a time of civil rights protests and hootenannies, when Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary sang the songs that topped the charts, and the middle class snickered at Lenny Bruce while he excoriated the sexual foibles of the middle class, Ben’s beef is mainly with himself. He is existential enough to have stepped out of Camus.

Richie Bell, a rich kid from Connecticut, is nicer, flakier, a guitar strummer. But it is typical of Engelhard’s subterranean way with a story that Richie keeps a poisonous snake as a pet and maybe a homicidal tool. Howie, a shmo everybody makes fun of, turns out to be as convoluted as the snake and more dangerous. Louise Carmen is a pleasant surprise: a sophisticated coal miner’s daughter who sings, and loves, better than Loretta Lynn. In this rich novel you are going to mine some nuggets of character. . . .

In a sense, Bitter End is the story of the rise and fall of Cliff Harris, from Philadelphia obscurity to America’s most popular comedian. Cliff is a superb impersonator who does JFK so well that Jackie could hardly tell the difference. He is a mainstay of that strange postwar institution, the Ed Sullivan Show. But when the dashing young president is gunned down, what becomes of his shadow? You probably won’t guess right. Bitter End is a classy and classical novel with the triple unities of time, place and action. Yet it brings to life the sixties scene with all its exuberance, fun sex and pot-smoking, and devious police informing. It is Engelhard’s most heartfelt work to date, easy to read, easy to like, but hard to forget. Like that day in November when a lot of us lost our innocence.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1130 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: DayRay Literary Press; 3rd edition (November 6, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GJR6AOS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Great Story! March 21, 2002
Format:Hardcover
If you missed the 60s -- if you missed the excitement, the passion, the radicalism, the love-will-conquer-all hippies, the injustices, the honesty, the thrills, the politics, the greed, the hopes and dreams -- this book brings it all alive. Not quite the same as having been there, but no book I've read goes nearly so close to the real experience. If you were there, in the 60s (feel fortunate), you can't help but love reliving this unfotgettable story, with its captivating characters and the sensual three-way love affair at its core. It fascinated me from start to finish. I could not put it down.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DAYS OF THE BITTER END---A PROPHECY... September 5, 2007
Format:Hardcover
I found myself reading the pages of this book in reverent awe.

This was how it all began....this was the launch. Yes, the Beat Generation had been around since The Bomb. It was all over they said....live it up while you can.

But then something happened. It started in the Greenwich Village of the Early Sixties...in the Mad Abandon so charcteristic of the cafes and the scene on Bleecker Street.

Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, Barbra Streisand, Bill Cosby, Lennie Bruce...started doing their thing...with gusto. An within ten years they had stood this Nation on its ear. It was more than music....it was a way of life. Shove America's sins in its nose....pull down the hypocritical suburbanites and their smug satisfaction....redesign America....say what you feel...do what you feel....DON'T DO what you DON'T feel....

It was a chilling vision for the older generation....yet those who preached it and sang it became the idols of my generation....

Jack Engelhard, the tough-minded journalist, veteran of the police and city hall beats, yet also a wandering immigrant soul so grateful for a home where you could raise your voice on the streets, was there. He saw it...He lived it...and in DAYS THE BITTER END he tells it.

Whether your soul cries out to relive from whence we came, or whether you want a first hand account of how it REALLY WAS back then...this book is for you.

Excitement....drama..alienation...ambition...the music, the libertine sex....most people cannot believe there was such a time and a place...A riveting novel of love and lust..of soaring joy and bitter despair...of Camelot awash and broken to pieces dream by dream in the two inch deep Perdenales River...oh yes of bitter downward change...from JFK to LBJ....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book by an Amazing Author! 5 Stars!!! December 22, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a child of the 60's, I found this book to be brilliant. It reminds us of how hopeful we were during the years of J.F. Kennedy. The average person did not realize that hovering around the corner a "revolution" was brewing that would tear apart our peaceful nation for years to come. This book takes us back to a simpler and more peaceful time just before the country exploded and our innocence was lost forever.

New York City's Greenwich Village was "the place" back in the 1960's. The future talents of music and film stardom started at popular coffee houses and clubs there. These future stars were found in every chapter of the book taking us back to their earliest performances. Even though the story may be fiction, there is enough historical reality to make you feel as if you are there intertwined with the characters.

Jack Engelhard has the talent of taking a reader inside a story as an onlooker to moving him to become a participant. You are drawn into the "circle of friends" you are reading about. The characters are well developed and believable which is the sign of an excellent writer.

Mr. Engelhard is certainly the master of reality in all of his writings. He presents the reader with multiple moral dilemmas that leaves you thinking long after you have finished reading the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece December 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Days of the Bitter End is another masterpiece by Jack Engelhard. As a history buff I appreciate reading about times I have not (really) experienced. Jack delivers. His portrayal of Greenwich Village 1963 lets the aura of time and place come alive. The descriptions are so vivid I could almost hear Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul, and Mary singing.

But there is much more. By creating his character Cliff Harris, the comedian and John Kennedy impersonator, Jack creates the opportunity to have Cliff tell us what Americans were thinking about the president's political decisions and life; people interact with Cliff, the impersonator, since they cannot speak directly to the president.

The more I read the more I got drawn into the book. I wanted to know what was going to happen even though that was clear from the beginning. Kennedy would get shot and obviously his impersonator would not have a career anymore. Suspense arises as Jack's characters take little steps in attempt to live their lives to the fullest. As readers we cannot help but rooting for them and then - unexpectedly sudden - Kennedy is shot and everything is falling apart. I was a baby when John Kennedy got assassinated but I do remember Robert Kennedy getting shot. I had found my mother in the kitchen, weeping almost out of control. The radio was running. Why was she sobbing like I had never seen before? She explained to me that that man, who she had shown me on the cover of a magazine only a few weeks prior, that man who had been depicted with his wife and ten children, who wanted to be president, had been shot. Being six, living in Europe, I could not grasp why anybody would want to shoot a man who wanted to be president of the United States.
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More About the Author

Novelist Jack Engelhard wrote the international bestseller "Indecent Proposal" that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His latest novel, "The Girls of Cincinnati," a suspenseful love story, is now available in paperback on Amazon (along with five star reviews). Engelhard's themes have been called "powerfully seductive" by The New York Times and his writing style has been acclaimed as "vivid, cool and muscular" by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Writer/critic Michael Foster has cited Engelhard's writing as embracing "the sparseness of Hemingway but the moral intensity of I.B. Singer." An award-winning memoirist and journalist, Engelhard's internationally syndicated commentaries (blogs) can be found on Amazon, his personal website and elsewhere.


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