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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 8 reviews
on February 2, 2014
What can I say--this is the kind of history writing that leaves you in awe of the scholarship and artistry behind it. The range and depth of topics and personae covered is remarkable--and at all times it remains a wonderfully enjoyable read.
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on October 24, 2014
Loved it.
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on February 3, 2011
This book is close to horrible. The book says it is about Manhattan in the 1920s (or at least the subheading suggests this) but the book instead meanders through various issues that are slightly related to the 1920s and even more slightly related to manhattan. In almost 600 pages, the author does little more than confuse her reader. She talks about Freud, Hemingway, Stein, Crane, Jung, and numerous others, but your powers of reasoning really have to be used to figure out how these characters have any relevance to her supposed theme of Manhattan in the 1920s. She seems to have gotten lost in her own thoughts for the better part of the book. I'm sure there are some important points in this book, but it needs some major editing or to be broken into volumes.
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VINE VOICEon January 30, 2002
I don't know why this awesome book has negative reviews here. It is a little difficult true. But for a New Yorkphile, like me, it can't be beat, if you want to know New York in the 1920's, and to a lesser degree the nation. All the familiar names are covered: Scott and Zelda, Woolcott, Parker, Gerstein Stein, Freud,Jazz and Ellington among many others. New York as a huge rush for outsiders from their first sight. The skyscraper boom, and builders and architects. The movie industry.The extreme dangers of transatlantic flights, and coast to coast mail deliveries. The Harlem Renaissance, basically the city as a reinventing, percolating tornado.FDR, Damon Runyan,Irving Berlin,WEB Dubois,Singing the Blues, Mary Pickford, Babe Ruth, Jimmy Walker (the fun loving mayor with questionable morals)the Great White Way, the Cotton Club...It is just about an endless ride thru this great town in the 1920's and beyond, including the aftershock of the 1930's...Sometimes a little difficult, but you can browse through the index too and find hundreds of worthy subjects to check out...One of the best journeys through a time and place that I know!! Also with some interesting photos too.
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on April 1, 2015
The book was assigned for a proseminar class on United States history of the 1920s-1930s at a state university history department. It is not a history book but one written by a scholar of comparative literature and English literature. It is about the intellectual life and arts of New York city, especially Manhattan. The author concentrates on the African-American intellectuals and artists, but often goes into her own weird theories. The book is long-winded, highly repetitious, an oddball book that turns out to be more about Freud and African-American culture than New York City. It is stuffed to exasperation with psychoanalytic literary theory, postmodernist theory, African-American propaganda clothed as history and a good example of what infuriate the right-wing in this country about the intellectual elite: too much about minorities (blacks, homosexuals, women) and too much about the art crowd. Nothing about normal people. The author obsesses about Freud and more Freud and at the same time proclaiming how much she hates him. Unfortunately, she has bought into Freud's own obsessions and looks for sex in everyone and everything. She repetitiously points out so-and-so was a homosexual. It is literary criticism gone unhinged and unedited. For about 600 pages she can't stop writing about her bizarre theories about the Matriarch, the Titaness, and matricidal culture. This is what happens when an author mixes feminist theory, ethnic studies theories, psychoanalysis, and literary criticism with history. The professor who assigned the book to the class himself found the book exasperating and in desperate need of editing. Every one in the proseminar yelled about this book and not in a good way.
While probably praised by the politically correct ethnic studies intellectuals and feminist scholars as brilliant, I consider it to be a crackpot book, no more valid than, say, H.P. Blavatsky's theosophy tomes. Terrible Honesty led to arguments in the class. I stated I hated Freud, while another student said you cannot hate Freud, as if it wasn't allowed. I hated ideology being handed down as gospel truth, whatever it is. Terrible Honesty has a self-righteous tone of being gospel, when it is nothing of the kind.
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