Friends talking in the night : sixty years of writing for The New Yorker

by Hamburger, Philip.

Format: Print Book 1999
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PS3515.A402 F75 1999x
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PS3515.A402 F75 1999x
From a writer of astonishing versatility, this wonderfully rich collection of pieces is both a memoir  of Philip Hamburger's writing life and a vivid and various record of the world he has lived in. Hamburger first went to work for The New Yorker in 1939, under the aegis of Harold Ross, and he is  still there--six decades and four editors later. He has wandered all over its pages as Our Man Stanley or Reporter at Large, doing Talk of the Town, Casuals, and Notes & Comment, writing Profiles, and more.   And he has wandered all over the map, unearthing the secret souls of some fifty-five American towns  and cities (from Hot Springs, Arkansas, to Butte, Montana) and bearing witness to the horrors of war  and fascism (from Mussolini's bloody corpse hanging upside down in a Milan public square, to the  hungry, hollow-eyed marchers bearing pro-Tito posters through the wrecked streets of Belgrade  after the war). An old-fashioned liberal--and proud of it-- Hamburger has witnessed almost every inauguration since  1933 (at Roosevelt's first he was perched on the icy branch of a tree), has spied shamelessly on a succession of New York City mayors (he used to live conveniently across from Gracie Mansion), and has constantly championed the voices of liberty (Judge Learned Hand, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Judge William Henry Hastie, Edward R. Murrow). Insatiably curious, Hamburger strikes for the heart of whatever subject he approaches--whether it's the  famous (Truman, Toscanini, Evita Perón, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vartan Gregorian) or the unsung hero (a waiter who single-handedly sold four million dollars' worth of war bonds). Hitler's aerie in Berchtesgaden is as fascinating to him as the twisting ramps of Macy's package delivery tunnels.  Hamburger never balked at donning a different hat; he quite literally put on a black homburg as The New Yorker's music critic for a year. He took on movies and was the first to venture into the minefield of television, conjuring up brilliantly the wonders and abominations of what he saw in the 1950s on the flickering black-and-white screen. All these adventures, and many more, are here in this treasure of a book--the work of a New Yorker writer who wrote what he pleased, went where he wanted, and took as much time as he needed. With wit and insight and extraordinary scrupulousness, Philip Hamburger penetrates the darkness and reveals for us the many pleasures he has had talking to these friends in the night.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The pieces in Hamburger's warm anthology of a lifetime's association with the New Yorker run the gamut of the magazine's departments, from Talk of the Town to Reporter at Large. Often about people, his pieces stretch from portraits of the obscure to those of worldwide fame. What matters to Hamburger is not the celebrity of the subject, but the texture of the personality, which he realizes with economy and concrete detail, be the person a New York deli waiter selling war bonds, or Harry Truman autographing with dispatch at his book signing. Possessed of a style that expresses an essence of whatever gains his attention, Hamburger covers a variety of subjects that are a continual joy to browse, then linger over. There are opera reviews, movie reviews, and percipient reviews of the first television programs. Abroad, Hamburger describes Mussolini's end, Tito's faux-enthusiastic rent-a-crowds, and "sightings" of a fugitive Hitler in Peron's Potemkinesque Argentina. Considering the wide fondness for their source, these pieces are bound to enjoy renewed appeal. --Gilbert Taylor"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Here's the century, or at least the post-WWII century, as seen not panoramically by an anchorman and photographers but impressionistically by a polished prose stylist with an eye for how detail can open up even the briefest of essays or sketches. From a 1939 article on the Bettmann Archive to last year's appreciation of New Yorker colleague Brendan Gill, these pieces (which appeared as New Yorker "Profiles," "Talk of the Town" bits and "Letters" from all over the world) show Hamburger to be a classic practitioner of literate understatement, clearly a disciple of his exacting editor, William Shawn. There's a chilling essay called "The End of Mussolini," in which Hamburger concludes by wondering, amid the bombed-out rubble of Milan's church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, about the fate of Leonardo's Last Supper. In a 1945 "Letter from Berchtesgaden," Hamburger focuses on the banality, indeed the tackiness, of evil made manifest in Hitler's mountain retreat: "And into this room he crowded forty-six chairs, one more ugly than the next‘low-slung chairs covered with sickly blue imitation needle point." Readers will also find portraits of Harry Truman, Oscar Hammerstein II and others, as well as delightful diversions‘like the one about Louie the Waiter, a New York delicatessen legend renowned for "his ability to sell War Bonds in large amounts to customers who enter the store with nothing more in mind than a plate of chopped liver." Readers who fell in love (sometimes for the second time) with Hamburger's close friend Joseph Mitchell when Up in the Old Hotel was published will be just as happy to have their fill of Hamburger. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects New Yorker (New York, N.Y. : 1925)
Publisher New York :A.A. Knopf,1999
Edition 1st ed.
Other Titles New Yorker (New York, N.Y. : 1925)
Language English
Notes "All of the essays in this book were originally published in The New Yorker"--T.p. verso.
Description 424 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 0679438831
Other Classic View