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A Handful of Hell: Classic War and Adventure Stories (The Men's Adventure Library) Paperback – January 22, 2016
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"Robert F. Dorr sets the standard for writing about aviation and adventure." - Walter J. Boyne, author and former director, National Air and Space Museum
About the Author
Robert F. Dorr is an author (since 1955), an Air Force veteran (1957-60) and a retired American diplomat (1964-89). His latest book is the novel CRIME SCENE: FAIRFAX COUNTY, and features characters introduced in his 2014 alternate-history novel, HITLER'S TIME MACHINE. Author of more than 70 books on military and aviation history, Dorr has served as a columnist for Air Force Times and Aerospace America. Many of his early published writings were in men's adventure magazines in the 1960s and 1970s. Bob and his wife Young Soon are the parents of two grown sons with families and live in Oakton, Virginia with their Labrador retriever, Autumn.
In his younger days, Robert Deis explored various options for making a living. Among other things, he worked as a teacher, an artist, a musician, a logger in the Maine woods, a magazine writer and a state government bureaucrat. Eventually (by accident rather than design) he fell into a long-lasting career as a political consultant. Nowadays, he blogs and writes about things that interest him, such as famous quotations and men's adventure magazines. Bob grew up in the decades when men's adventure magazines were flourishing, but he didn't take much notice of them until he read the 2004 book MEN'S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES IN POSTWAR AMERICA, which features the amazing art and magazine collection of Rich Oberg. That inspired him to start collecting and studying men's adventure magazines. In 2009, he created the MensPulpMags.com blog. Through that, he met other fans of the genre, including Rich Oberg, Wyatt Doyle and Josh Alan Friedman, who all agree that what the world needs now is greater exposure to the wild, weird world of men's adventure pulp fiction and pulp art.
Wyatt Doyle is co-founder of New Texture, and launched their publishing imprint in 2006. He assisted Georgina Spelvin in the publication of her memoir, THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT, and served as editor and publisher of BLACK CRACKER by Josh Alan Friedman for his own imprint, Wyatt Doyle Books. He is co-editor and designer of The Men's Adventure Library series of pulp fiction anthologies. A collection of his stories illustrated by Stanley J. Zappa, STOP REQUESTED, is available from New Texture, as are his photography collections, DOLLAR HALLOWEEN and I NEED REAL TUXEDO AND A TOP HAT! A collaboration with Jimmy Angelina, THE LAST COLORING BOOK, was released in 2016. He edits and designs most New Texture releases. He curates the New Texture website, as well as Josh Alan Friedman's Black Cracker Online and Rev. Raymond Branch's RevBranch.com. His original screenplay with Jason Cuadrado, I'M HERE FOR YOU, was filmed as DEVIL MAY CALL in 2013. He performs in the Stanley J. Zappa Quartet. A recording, THE STANLEY J. ZAPPA QUARTET PLAYS FOR THE SOCIETY OF WOMEN ENGINEERS, will be released in 2017.
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Top Customer Reviews
Flash forward decades into the future, and now, thanks to the editing team of Bob Deis and Wyatt Doyle, I can finally find out what exactly was in that forbidden-fruit world on the upper shelf of the magazine rack. Their latest tome, with the perfect title A HANDFUL OF HELL, features exclusively the writing of Robert F. Dorr, and these stories primarily focus on the first genre of tale that I mentioned above: tough American Joes giving the enemy hell, and quite often having hell handed right back to them. In his charming and modest introduction Dorr tells us of his fascination with airplanes from an early age – he joined the air force right out of high school, but, sadly for him, a hearing impairment prevented him from realizing his dream of becoming a pilot. But Dorr took his love for military aviation and transmuted it into dozens of stories for the men’s pulp magazines of the 1960s and 1970s – some based on fact, but as he readily admits, always more or less fictionalized, and some made up from whole cloth, but always with a solid grounding in Dorr’s vast knowledge of military aircraft and procedures. In his introduction Dorr admits that he is one of those guys who can identify any airplane every made and tell you everything there is to know about every one of those planes. This deep knowledge of military aircraft and tactics gives his stories a reality that lifts them way above the run-of-the-mill pulp story. The action always feels real in a Dorr story, and the action invariably starts in the first paragraph and doesn’t let up until the end. These are not “New Yorker” stories delving into the subtleties of human relations (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but straightforward stories of combat and courage, written for guys who had gone through World War II and Korea. A fantastic component of this volume is the cornucopia of original art – many in full color – from the magazines the stories originally appeared in, with artists like Stan Borack, Mort Künstler, Mel Crair, George Gross, and Earl Norem. I recommend this volume unreservedly for military aviation buffs, lovers of pulp war stories and pulp art, and anyone fascinated by that strange brief heyday of the men’s adventure magazine.
It was a great time to be a magazine writer. Writers were actually paid about as much for articles in those days as they are today. And Mr. Dorr could compete with the best of them; in fact, he may well have been the best of them.
The book is crammed with great stories about pilots being shot down in enemy territory, planes being rammed in mid-air, and long-odds rescue missions in dense jungles against fanatical foes. And if there happened to be a lovely young woman who needed rescuing, so much the better.
This is one of the funnest books I've read in a long time. It's visually exciting, features the best of Robert Dorr's work, is packed with action and excitement on every page, and filled with original color artwork from the old pulp magazine era. This is a must-have for everyone who loves that genre or just loves a good war story.
Five .50 caliber shells. Outstanding!
Rob Morris, author of Untold Valor: Forgotten stories of American Bomber Crews in World War Two; Marinell: The Story of a P 51 Mustang and the People Who Knew Her; and Untold Valor: The Second World War in the Pacific.