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Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lo vers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes Paperback – November 2, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bill Peschel is a lifelong reader whose five thousand-book library keeps his home in Hershey, Pennsylvania, firmly anchored to the earth. When not collecting weird and wild stories, he edits news articles and designs pages at the Harrisburg Patriot-News. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399536183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399536182
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,255,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bill Peschel is a recovering journalist who shares a Pulitzer Prize with the staff of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. He also is a mystery fan who has run the Wimsey Annotations at Planet Peschel for nearly two decades. He is the author of "Writers Gone Wild" (Penguin).

Through Peschel Press he publishes Sherlock parodies and pastiches in the 223B Casebook series and annotated editions of Dorothy L. Sayers' "Whose Body?" and Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" and "The Secret Adversary."

An interest in Victorian crime led to the republication of three books on the William Palmer case. He lives with his family, dog and two cats in Hershey, where the air really does smell like chocolate.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deb Salisbury on November 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Writers Gone Wild is a brilliant collection of short anecdotes about writers and their odder moments. Funny, astonishing, and occasionally sad, this book lays bare parts of many famous writers' lives. Highly recommended, especially if you only have brief moments to read at one time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By arielkprice on August 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Writers Gone Wild reveals all of the dirty secrets of the authors we know and love so well. As author Bill Peschel blatantly admits, it's gossip. These stories do give us more complete views of the lives from which some of our best-loved literature arose. But let's be honest. "They're great fun to read."
I'll just give you a taste of the mishaps our authors got into:

When Voltaire was beaten, his friend just said, "You are a poet and you have been beaten. This is the order of things." Ain't that the truth.
Stuart Little was banned from the New York Public Library for "interspecies miscegenation." Upton Sinclair published an obituary for one of his characters to gain public attention. See, even back then authors had to market themselves. William Faulkner worked at the post office and would go through people's mail, throwing away what he thought they didn't need and keeping the magazines for himself. Virginia Woolf dressed up as an Abyssinian prince and fooled the British Royal Navy.

Honestly, most of these stories will make you laugh. Some are disgusting. I have a lot less respect for Ernest Hemingway and a few others. Some authors are examples of how very thin the line can be between genius and madness. I felt sorry for these and several authors, whose talent went unnoticed or ignored, or whose great writing arose from great personal struggle.

I really enjoyed this collection because it does give us a more realistic picture of some of these authors. In a way, it's nice to know that they had to deal with life just as we do. Some caved under the pressure, but others channeled their experiences into their work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurt A. Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
Think you know all about George Bernard Shaw, James Boswell and William Faulkner? Well think again! In this interesting little book, author Bill Peschel presents the literary glitterati in all of the unvarnished reality. There are strange, but all too true, accounts of strange goings-on, some of which will amuse you, and some shock you.

Overall, I found this to be a pretty darn good book. As you might expect with a book like this, you will no doubt have heard some of these stories before, but the author spreads such a wide net that you are sure to find stories that will tickle your fancy. It's a very entertaining book, and I think that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By sundowner2 on July 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
When I started to read this book, I was hoping for some of the "Feuds, Frolics and Follies" the author promised in the description. What I found instead was that the book was full of half truths laid out in a way either to make the "cast" the butt of a joke, or else in a condensending, judgmental way. A few examples:

Mary Shelly, how she "was not" invited to Percy Shelly's funeral. Well, that's because women wern't allowed to attend funeral at that time. Elizabeth Riddel, having died of laudnum poisoning? Yes, she did, but she committed sucicide because her husband had had such a long string of lovers, had failed repeatedly upon his promises to finish paintings and help provide income (for which she was almost entirely responsible for providing). Oscar Wilde, visiting a brotel, then coming out and saying it was like cold mutton, and was the first, and last time in ten years, the author makes this out as though he's a freak for saying that, and tells the whole story in such a poor light, but neglects to mention that Oscar Wilde had recently been released from hard labor after protecting his lover from a scandal, and it had ruined his health to the point of near death. He was also suffering from the loss of his wife and children, who left him while he was in prison, and had been seperated (for his own good) from the lover who caused his early death. Where is the sympathy for that man? I feel like that was a horrible story to have in the book.

Most of the stories were about drunk writers, or drugged up writers, and as I said, full of half truths and a tone to paint every charachter in a poor light, depending on the author's desire. It's a shame, had I known, I wouldn't have wasted my money on this. too bad I can't take it back.

If you want the truth, read biographies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barb on February 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
A pleasant, readable style and interesting annecdotes make Writers Gone Wild a fun read. There are a wide variety of writers mentioned and the stories range from comic to bizarre. The short annecdotes in each themed chapter make it easy to either read at length or to pick up and put down. Perfect for someone who wants to read about the information that is never covered in history classes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Britt on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bill Peschel has tapped into the craft he learned as a journalist to produce short pieces on the most familiar literary names of our time and in history. Well beyond mentioning what each of them produced that made them famous, Peschel gives us the nuggets that tell us something about the character of each of these writers. He's grouped these deliciously gossipy stories into topical areas shown in the table of contents. Some of these topics include dramatic debuts, public embarrassments, frauds and hoaxes, crime and punishment, war, bad craziness, alcohol and drugs, and the joy of sex.

Writers Gone Wild: The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature's Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes by Bill Peschel is both thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining. I can pick it up, read a few pages, and set it down, pick it up a few hours later, read a few more pages, and never miss a beat.
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