Download Almost a Family: A Memoir by John Darnton PDF

By John Darnton

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and best-selling writer: a superbly crafted memoir of his lifelong chase after his father’s shadow.

John was once 11 months outdated whilst his father, Barney Darnton—a battle correspondent for The manhattan Times—was killed in international battle II, yet his absence left a extra profound imprint at the relatives than any residing father can have. John’s mom, a well known Times reporter and editor, attempted to maintain alive the dream of elevating her sons in excellent atmosphere. while that proved most unlikely, she collapsed emotionally and bodily. yet alongside the best way she created any such robust fable of the father-hero who gave his lifestyles for his family members, kingdom, and the fourth property that John his footsteps into an analogous newsroom.

Decades after his father’s loss of life, John and his brother, the historian Robert Darnton, begun digging into the previous to discover the reality approximately their mom and dad. to find who the real-life Barney Darnton was—and partially who he himself is—John delves into turn-of-the-century farm lifestyles in Michigan, the anything-goes Jazz Age in Greenwich Village, the lives of hard-drinking battle correspondents within the Pacific theater, and the worried loneliness of the McCarthy years in Washington, D.C. He ends his quest on a seashore in Papua New Guinea, the place he learns approximately his father’s final moments from an elderly villager who by no means forgot what he observed sixty-five years previous.

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I followed his instructions and found myself in a steel cage that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Soviet-built housing block circa 1925. ” Clearly, the security officer had taken one look at my jeans and T-shirt and assumed I was a messenger. This was the service elevator. ” asked the lift-operator. I decided to chance it. ” The lever was pulled and the ancient machine groaned into life. The ninth floor turned out to be the Condé Nast Messenger Center, a warren of corridors populated almost entirely by Hispanic 30 To b y Yo u n g young men.

For instance, after a few glasses of wine I suggested that Vanity Fair should run a photographic feature on “literary London” featuring headshots of Britain’s most distinguished authors in their fa- how to Lose Friends and Alienate People 3 vorite pubs. The idea was to illustrate the connection between alcohol and London literary life. ” he responded. ” The impression he gave was of a man who’d gone to a great deal of trouble to cultivate a particular image—a faintly bohemian Wasp with literary aspirations—but was only too happy to contradict it the moment he opened his mouth.

Of all Ben Hecht’s colleagues, perhaps the most heroic was Herman J. Mankiewicz, the ex-New York Times journalist who wrote Citizen Kane. He specialized in antagonizing the rich and powerful. ” 26 To b y Yo u n g in. After assuming his usual place at the head of the table, Cohn started sounding off about a “lousy” film he’d seen the previous night. When one of his underlings protested that the audience he’d seen it with had loved it, Cohn silenced him with a wave of his hand. The mogul had a foolproof device for determining whether a film was any good or not: “If my fanny squirms, it’s bad.

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