Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $6.47 shipping
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) Hardcover – September 1, 1997
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Literature and film buffs will be delighted by this collection of pulp novels, most of which were made into important films. James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice is a literary masterpiece with its spare prose invoking a savage, sexy, desperate world. It inspired no less than three great movies: Luchino Visconti's classic Ossessione, in 1942; the 1946 remake, starring John Garfield and Lana Turner and directed by the extraordinary Tay Garnett; and Bob Rafelson's underrated 1981 version with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. When you read the magnificent source for these movies, you'll be astonished at how three different incarnations could all, in their own ways, be faithful to the novel.
Cornell Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man also became three movies: No Man of Her Own, with Barbara Stanwyk; the French I Married a Shadow; and the American comedy, Mrs. Winterborne, which starred Shirley MacLaine and Ricki Lake. Edward Anderson's vivid Thieves Like Us was transformed into They Live by Night, Nicholas Ray's first important movie and one of the seminal noir films of the 1940s. It was brilliantly remade in 1974 by the great revisionist director Robert Altman. Kenneth Fearing's The Big Clock was transformed into a marvelous film starring Charles Laughton; 40 years later, the same source, retitled No Way Out, brought Kevin Costner to stardom. William Lindsay Gresham's Nightmare Alley was the source for Tyrone Power's best movie; Horace McCoy's experimental They Shoot Horses, Don't They? became one of the seminal films of the 1960s.
These dark, evocative novels, when taken together, are a fascinating study of how words can inspire a magnificent variety of cinematic images and styles.
From Library Journal
The Library of America gave a tremendous boost to the reputation of hard-boiled detective fiction with the inclusion of Raymond Chandler among its illustrious ranks (Classic Returns, LJ 9/15/95). This new two-volume set is another giant step in the direction of legitimacy for the pulp mystery genre. This duo collect 11 of the best crime novels in which the criminal rather than the sleuth is the central character. Included here are such gems as James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, Cornell Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man, Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Chester Himes's The Real Cool Killers. These tales of murder and mayhem belong in all fiction collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It is difficult to pin down what "noir" means, and the six novels in this collection show that the style cannot be reduced to a formula. Each of the novels in the book center upon murder, and most are recounted from the standpoint of the perpetuator. Although the writing varies by author, the style of each book is in the tough, short, colloquial style called "hardboiled." The Depression forms the backdrop of each book in this collection, but the settings otherwise vary widely. Three books are set predominantly in diverse areas of California (a wealthy suburb, a shabby country roadside restaurant, and a grimy section of Hollywood). One book is set in corporate New York City and in its bedroom suburbs, while another book is set in back roads and small towns of Oklahoma and Texas. The last of the books is set primarily in the world of the travelling carnival shows touring the South. Atmosphere and place are central in each of the books.
The books differ from many of the sprawling novels written today in that they are short and focused. They generally include a limited rather than a seemingly endless group of characters. In developing the crime and the characters, each novel includes a controlled range of themes. There is much to be gained from this narrowing and developing of scope compared to many long and wandering recent books I have read. The main character in each book tends to be a lonely, alienated outsider. The individual books explore themes such as guilt, greed, evil, loyalty, self-identity, discontentment, expoitation, and attempts at redemption. Each of the books in this collection has a serious, thoughful underpinning.
Each of the books included here has been made into film, frequently more than once. The books range from the familiar to the obscure. James Cain's "The Postman Always Rings Twice", which opens the collection, is the best-known work which has come to be deservedly recognized as a literary classic. The book tells the story of a wild 24 year old drifter, Frank Chambers, who falls in love with Cora and plots with her to kill her husband. The writing is vivid and descriptive, full of power, force, and raw sexuality. It is stunning short work, almost impossible to put down.
Horace McCoy's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" has become well known in large part from the late 1960s movie starring Jane Fonda. This short book is set in a Depression-era dance marathon in Hollywood. This book is easily the darkest and most pessimistic work in this collection, and rivals any other work in American literature that I know in its unrelieved grimmness.
The remaining four books are less well-known. Kenneth Fearing was a poet who wrote of the Depression. His novel "The Big Clock" is set in corporate New York City and develops the tension between working for an organization doing a job one dislikes and pursuing one's goals and dreams. Edward Anderson's "Thieves Like Us" is set among robbers and escaped convicts in Oklahoma. It includes a love story I found effective together with a portrayal of the nature of loyalty, well placed and misplaced. William Gresham's "Nightmare Alley" is a story of the tawdry life of the American carny, and of
the rise and fall of an unscrupulous carny magician and fraudster. The final book, Cornell Woolrich's "I Married a Dead Man" is a dark work about the nature of personal identity, living a lie, and the consequences of guilt.
From its beginning in pulp magazines and stories, noir became a form of writing that at its best evolved into literature. Readers who enjoy noir or who want to explore the breadth of American literature will enjoy this collection. For readers wanting more detailed discussion of each of the six books in the volume, I am attaching links to individual editions.
The Postman Always Rings Twice
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Serpent's Tail Classics)
Thieves Like Us
The Big Clock (New York Review Books Classics)
Nightmare Alley (New York Review Books)
I Married a Dead Man (The Best Mysteries of All Time)
One, entitled "The Big Clock", is about the highly sophisticated and competitive world of big city publishing and involves a murder committed by it's top executive who is losing his ability to cope; a uniquely arranged set of chapters detailing the thoughts and actions of each player through their own individual eyes and each written in the "first person" which adds another layer of intrigue and dimension to it. An innocent man, fearing he will be the prime suspect, becomes enmeshed in an incredibly intricate plot trying to keep himself out of it, wading in deeper and deeper even though he has had nothing to do with the actual murder, but definitely has knowledge of certain of the events that will bring his family - that means his wife - into it which must be avoided at all costs.
In "Thieves Like Us", a gang of bank robbers is on the run through the Oklahoma countryside, living by their wits and for the day because tomorrow may never come; the doomed rampage is prolonged by the lack of law enforcement technology of the era. The visual image projected into the mind of the reader is vivid; of 1930's automobiles, dust and sweat, of desperate, reckless men who have nothing more to lose except their lives, which have never been good anyway - to them, for them or because of them. The old phrase of "Honor among the Thieves" becomes duly recognizable for a few chapters, as does the necessary bonding, and uneasy, false friendship that was tantamount to survival. This, due to it's very nature begins to unravel just when dependence upon one another is needed most; and the loser's urge to "do just one more job" to compensate for the money that seems to run through their fingers like sand through an hourglass overrides any thought process any of them may have had. It has it's anti-hero in one man who seems straight enough to maybe make it if he can just manage to split from his bad seed influences; but nothing can alter his headlong rush down the lonely path to perdition, taking the one lonely person who actually cares about him down with him. He has known nothing else; he has never been nurtured, never been taught the good lessons of life to offset the problems of it; he simply reacts to stimulus; the once child of clay has hardened to brittle nothingness.
Highly recommended for anyone enjoying mystery and suspense in it's finest form.
Most recent customer reviews
By James M. Cain
The Thirties were a dark time that gave rise to novels of dark...Double IndemnityRead more
This must be in your collection.
The Red Fur Room
A novel based on a true story.Read more
crime noir--1930's AND 1940's
!!!!!--P E R F E C T--!!!!!