I have read many books related to war, but they are mostly about the war, eg history (Rise & Fall of the 3rd Reich), economics (The Wages of Destruction), holocaust (Hitler's Willing Executioners), from which I have learned a lot. But as a reader, I remained at a distance from the experience of the war, the proverbial "arm-chair" observer. So I thank you for referring me to Intimate Voices and a closer encounter to this violent wound in human history. ...It evoked a dimension of empathy and compassion.
This is a unique read that puts the horror and stupidity of war up close and personal. And it brought so much of what I have previously read as an observer up close and much more personal. It reminds me that I have had a life of grace in that I have been spared the experience of war - at least so far.
A tireless champion of the downtrodden, Nelson Algren, one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century, lived an outsider's life himself. He spent a month in prison as a young man for the theft of a typewriter; his involvement in Marxist groups earned him a lengthy FBI dossier; and he spent much of his life palling around with the sorts of drug addicts, prostitutes, and poor laborers who inspired and populated his novels and short stories. Most today know Algren as the radical, womanizing writer of The Man with the Golden Arm, which won the first National Book Award, in 1950, but award-winning reporter Mary Wisniewski offers a deeper portrait. Starting with his childhood in the City of Big Shoulders, Algren sheds new light on the writer's most momentous periods, from his on-again-off-again work for the WPA to his stint as an uninspired soldier in World War II to his long-distance affair with his most famous lover, Simone de Beauvoir, to the sense of community and acceptance Algren found in the artist colony of Sag Harbor before his death in 1981. Wisniewski interviewed dozens of Algren's closest friends and inner circle, including photographer Art Shay and author and historian Studs Terkel, and tracked down much of his unpublished writing and correspondence. She unearths new details about the writer's life, work, personality, and habits and reveals a funny, sensitive, and romantic but sometimes exasperating, insecure, and self-destructive artist. biographyThe first new biography of Algren in over 25 years, this fresh look at the man whose unique style and compassionate message enchanted readers and fellow writers and whose boyish charm seduced many women is indispensable to anyone interested in 20-century American literature and history.
About the Author
Mary Wisniewski is a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and former Reuters investigative reporter covering Midwest crime and politics. Previously a columnist for theChicago Sun-Timesand a reporter forChicago Lawyer, Wisniewski has won numerous awards for reporting and has taught creative writing and published literary reviews. She is an active participant in the Nelson Algren Committee, past president of the Chicago Headline Club, and appears frequently on local television and radio. "