- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (June 5, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375421025
- ISBN-13: 978-0375421020
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #274,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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McSorley's Wonderful Saloon Hardcover – June 5, 2001
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
From Publishers Weekly
"I don't think anything could be as much fun as to get a good hold on a pompous person and shake him or her until you can hear the false teeth rattling," says New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno to journalist Mitchell in a World-Telegram profile from the 1930s, but the sentiment could be applied to Mitchell himself. With the ability to turn bluntness to beauty, sarcasm to sincerity and plain speech to poetry, Mitchell who worked at the World-Telegram from 1930 to 1938 and spent the rest of his career at the New Yorker was a reporter and literary artist par excellence, interested in nearly everyone and everything. His profile of a stripper who begins naked and puts on her clothes is as fascinating as his sketch of George Bernard Shaw. Similarly, he is as empathetic toward Mary Louise Cecilia Guinan (the speakeasy queen usually called "Texas") as he is to the plight of Anne Morrow Lindbergh testifying at the kidnapping trial of her infant son. These 37 pieces and profiles most from the 1938 edition of this book, but with some new material added are breathtaking in their simplicity and honesty. Written at a time when newspapers tried to be as sensational as possible without appearing vulgar "belly" would be changed to "tummy" and "raped" became "criminally attacked" Mitchell made New York City shockingly vibrant and colorful without cheapening his subjects. He also evinced an empathy for African-Americans that's startling for the period (and the genre). In all, his liberating and refreshing honesty makes these pieces as vivacious, original and important as they were 65 years ago.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Mitchell was a cherished columnist for the now-defunct New York World-Telegram in the 1930s. He wrote primarily about the variety of street characters who seemed to be abundant in the great metropolis, and his columns read like Weegee photos transformed into words. These two volumes collect dozens of those portraits: My Ears Are Bent covers a variety of subjects, while McSorley's, which features a new foreword by Calvin Trillin, is a gallery of the customers at the famous Bowery watering hole. Great pieces of Americana.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Buy it to read the bit on McSorley's, "The Old House at Home," and buy it to read "All You can Hold for Five Bucks," buy it to read one wonderful story at a time. Its good to see it back.
But the way Mitchell presents these characters you are drawn in into their plight,eccentricities, or just regular routines. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the city, or if you are a fan of the bar and are just curious like myself
So writes Joseph Mitchell in his essay titled “A Mess of Clams.” Is this stylized prose? Not on your life – his prose isn’t even extraordinary. What is extraordinary is the voice of Joseph Mitchell: direct, down-to-earth, with sentiments and observations unpretentious even in the punctuation – in short, much like the man I imagine Joseph Mitchell to have been if Calvin Trillin’s Foreword is to be believed. And why should it not be?
The following paragraph (from the title piece “McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon,” on p. 19, and from which the entire collection takes its title), is, I believe, as good as any for a second citation: “To a devoted McSorley customer, most other New York City saloons are tense and disquieting. It is possible to relax in McSorley’s. For one thing, it is dark and gloomy, and repose comes easy in a gloomy place. Also, the barely audible heartbeatlike ticking of the old clocks is soothing. Also, there is a thick, musty smell that acts as a balm to jerky nerves; it is really a rich compound of the smells of pine sawdust, tap drippings, pipe tobacco, coal smoke, and onions. A Bellevue intern once remarked that for some mental states the smell in McSorley’s would be a lot more beneficial than psychoanalysis or sedative pills or prayer.”
The last three essays in this collection (beginning with “The Downfall of Fascism in Black Ankle County”) take us back to Mitchell’s birthplace and the fictional town of Stonewall, North Carolina.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This edition has the same exact stories as in "Up in the Old Hotel", but fewer. I was under the impression that I would be reading different ones. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Richard W. Mollette
This book has been read by the entire adult family. They all enjoyed it thoroughly.Published on July 30, 2014 by Robert Ward
This is a delightful collection of essays and stories about ordinary folk in New York City and also in the South. Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by E. Stern
I wanted to find a copy of a collection of short stories from the New Yorker about New York. It's an older book, but it's not out of print. Read morePublished on December 22, 2011 by Debnance at Readerbuzz