Jimmy Breslin Damon Runyon: A Life

Damon Runyon: A Life Jimmy BreslinDamon Runyon:

A Life

Jimmy Breslin

Damon Runyon died 3 years before I was born but various personalities would come on the Steve Allen or Jack Paar shows during my youth and talk about Damon Runyon like he was somebody important and interesting who said witty things. Runyon was a writer, character and personality of the period between the World Wars who breathed life and excitement into that era. Jimmy Breslin played the same role in the Post-War Era until his death in 2017. Runyon both created and lived the American Myth. Only a character like Breslin can capture the essence of a character like Runyon and adequately capture the public persona and its meaning while digging down to the actual character. Here we get the story of a guy who wrote Broadway hits and hung out with the entertainment and political elite while rubbing shoulders with Al Capone. Runyon was born in Manhattan Kansas in 1880 - 4 years after the Battle of the Little Big Horn and ten years before the massacre at Wounded Knee. His father was a newspaper man who drank his profits but managed to teach his son the trade. Runyon was a big drinker like his father early in life but gave it up mid-career. He remained an enthusiastic gambler - especially horses and craps - throughout his life and this put him into contact with many of the unsavory characters of his era. Runyon wrote for various Colorado newspapers, fought in the Spanish-American War in Manila, was a war correspondent during World War I, dabbled in minor league baseball, became a sports writer for various New York Newspapers before landing a job working for William Randolph Hearst covering New York Sports for decades. In the process Runyon runs into Poncho Villa, Jack Dempsey, Dutch Schultz, and just about any one culturally significant - from mobsters and writers to actors and politicians - between the two world wars. Breslin grabs this life, finds the smallest details, and weaves a fascinating and entertaining story. This is exactly the book you want while sitting by the fire with your favorite beer.

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