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Larry McMurtry has done more than any other living writer to shape our literary imagination of the American West. With The Last Kind Words Saloon he returns again to the vivid and unsparing portrait of the nineteenth-century and cowboy lifestyle made so memorable in his classic Lonesome Dove. Evoking the greatest characters and legends of the Old Wild West, here McMurtry tells the story of the closing of the American frontier through the travails of two of its most immortal figures: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.
Opening in the settlement of Long Grass, Texas not quite in Kansas, and nearly New Mexico we encounter the taciturn Wyatt, whiling away his time in between bottles, and the dentist-turned-gunslinger Doc, more adept at poker than extracting teeth. Now hailed as heroes for their days of subduing drunks in Abilene and Dodge more often with a mean look than a pistol Wyatt and Doc are living out the last days of a way of life that is passing into history, two men never more aware of the growing distance between their lives and their legends.
Along with Wyatt's wife, Jessie, who runs the titular saloon, we meet Lord Ernle, an English baron; the exotic courtesan San Saba, "the most beautiful whore on the plains"; Charlie Goodnight, the Texas Ranger turned cattle driver last seen in McMurtry's Comanche Moon, and Nellie Courtright, the witty and irrepressible heroine of Telegraph Days.
McMurtry traces the rich and varied friendship of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday from the town of Long Grass to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Denver, then to Mobetie, Texas, and finally to Tombstone, Arizona, culminating with the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral, rendered here in McMurtry's stark and peerless prose.
With the buffalo herds gone, the Comanche defeated, and vast swaths of the Great Plains being enclosed by cattle ranches, Wyatt and Doc live on, even as the storied West that forged their myths disappears. As harsh and beautiful, and as brutal and captivating as the open range it depicts, The Last Kind Words Saloon celebrates the genius of one of our most original American writers.
Todd S. Purdum, a Macomb native and nationally known journalist and political commentator, will be back in Macomb, midday, April 17, to introduce his latest book An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at New Copperfield's Book Service, 120 North Side Square. Mr. Purdum is the former New York Times diplomatic correspondent, White House correspondent, and Los Angeles bureau chief. Presently, he is contributing editor at Vanity Fair and senior writer at Politico. He is the author of several books including his recent A Time of Our Choosing: America's War in Iraq.
Mr. Purdum's latest book, An Idea Whose Time Has Come, published just a few days before his arrival in Macomb, has been given glowing reviews:
"In Todd Purdum's gripping account of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we can see, from nearly every angle, how the federal government began making good on the 'promissory note' of equal rights that Dr. King had invoked at the March on Washington. Purdum provides both an invaluable education in the political process and a keen understanding of how personalities (the famous and the unsung) and the best of both parties overcame every roadblock to 'make real the promises of democracy,' as Dr. King had challenged."
Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
"An Idea Whose Time Has Come is brilliantly rendered and emotionally powerful -- a riveting account of one of the most dramatic and significant moments in American history. The story Purdum tells is absolutely mesmerizing.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time, Team of Rivals, and The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
"Todd Purdum's remarkable An Idea Whose Time Has Come brings back to life the historic fight waged on behalf of civil rights by JFK and LBJ. Purdum is a superb writer, never dull, and his grasp of the Sixties milieu is foolproof. This is a marvelous and much needed book of lasting importance."
Douglas Brinkley, Author of Cronkite
Todd Purdum was born and raised in Macomb, the son of insurance broker, investor and realtor, Jerry S. Purdum and Connie Purdum. A graduate of Princeton University, he lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Dee Dee Myers, the political commentator and former White House press secretary, and their two children.
03/08/2014 1:00 pm
HOMAGE TO HOMER
A presentation from his orginal epic poem, JOURNEY HOME,by local author, John Andrew. Saturday, March 8 at 1:00 p.m.
John Andrew traces the inspiration forJourney Home to a visit, more than twenty years ago, to Paestum, Italy, the site of the ancient city of Poseidonia and some of the best preserved temples of the Greek civilization.
Journey Home pays homage to Homer's tale, The Odyssey, and the ancient Greek heroes. Andrew says, "Journey Home is my life-long journey of understanding to honor the heroes of a civilization that contributed so much to our own. It won't be complete until my own death."
The event is free and everyone is invited.
- 120 N Side Sq Ste A
- Macomb ,
- Postal Code:
- United States
By Gabe Habash
This past weekend, James Patterson took out ads on the cover of PW, in The New York Times Book Review, and in Kirkus asking the questions "Who will save our books? Our bookstores? Our libraries?" and listing a number of classic books like The Sound and the Fury and A Wrinkle in Time. PW spoke with Patterson by phone to find out his motivation for placing the ads.
"This is hopefully starting a dialogue," Patterson said. "I hate sitting around and talking; I like to do things." Specifically, Patterson expressed frustration at the lack of advancement of the future of books discussion. The discussion, Patterson said, is stuck in a rut and there are ways everyone can chip in to fix it. "Publishers are sitting around saying: 'Woe is me.' Get in attack mode," Patterson said. The problem continues with media coverage, as Patterson said the same article about the book business being in trouble--with little information beyond that and little mention of possible solutions--is being written over and over. "That article is not worth running," he said. "The New York Times needs to wake [up]."
Patterson has long been a fierce supporter of children's literacy and reading in general. Just this week, he appeared at Ann Patchett's Parnassus Books in Nashville for World Book Night (an event he also co-chaired). Later this week, he will appear on a national online webcast called "One on One: Fundamentals with Dwyane Wade and James Patterson," an event with the NBA star to promote the importance of reading to children. Last year he donated hundreds of thousands of books to troops around the world; in 2009, he launched children's reading promotion site ReadKiddoRead.
In part, Patterson's current ad reads: "The Federal Government has stepped in to save banks, and the automobile industry, but where are they on the important subject of books? Why are there no impassioned editorials in influential newspapers or magazines?" The PW ad closed by stating: "Spread the word about our endangered books! Peel off this wraparound cover and share it with a friend or post it at your local bookstore or library."
In talking with PW, he expressed his hope that all of those that control the conversation--whether it be government, publishers, media, or Web sites--turn it in a more specific and practical direction. "All I can do is stir the pot a little bit," he said.