Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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R A Rubin

Doctorow, read Billy Bathgate and Loon Lake, but not his 'best' Ragtime. His prose is spare, tiresome. His characterizations, forgettable. His politics is obvious, so getting to the truth of history, forget it. I like Vidal's Lincoln though his politics are the same -- good job on bringing Lincoln to life, but may not be as difficult as one might think. Lincoln has much familiarity. For good historical fiction, try Herman Wounks sp Winds of War saga. No axe to grind. The NAZI's are brutal and everyone can agree.


Reading comments here I am occasionally tempted to fall back on a certain undergraduate skepticism as I find a number of confusing (to me) assertions. Ah but that's no fun. Dan, you seem to think Doctorow had some didactic purpose in mind or rather you saddle him with that— I disagree. And as for the ending, the coupling of a New York Irishman with a former slave may seem sentimental and improbable to you but it didn't to me. So who's right?

And RA , is it Lincoln's politics you like or Vidal's "Lincoln?" Again, which Lincoln was brought to life?

Also, Doctorow's politics are obvious so what has that to do with the so-called "truth of history?"

I have been told that Herman Wouk is a good story teller — I would recommend Alan Furst and Charles McCarry

Dan Green

"the coupling of a New York Irishman with a former slave may seem sentimental and improbable to you but it didn't to me. So who's right?"

Both. My review merely reports my own experience of the novel (coupled with my reading of Doctorow's previous work.) I found it readable but perfunctory. Those who like historical fiction better than I do might like it.

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