The World of Jimmy Breslin
Jimmy Breslin was one of the 20th century's great characters, champions of the everyman, and one of its more entertaining and sometimes controversial writers. In The World of Jimmy Breslin is a perfect book for reading sitting in your favorite spot on the deck or in a lounge chair with a beer. This book collects some of Jimmy Breslin's more entertaining early writings and we learn of such characters as Fat Moisch, Larry Lightfingers, Fat Thomas, Marvin the Torch, Willi Mosconi, the Mechanic, Jerry the Booster, and Sam Silverware where Breslin demonstrates his skills at digging out the human side of the average man and paints engaging pictures by concentrating on the small details. He describes golf hustler George Low: "He has a silo for a stomach and he eats a frightening amount of food." His bout with the measles is hilarious. He takes a trip to Viet Nam in 1965. His descriptions can cut to the core as when Breslin remarks that while Barry Goldwater lacked class, "...I got to admire the way he sticks up for his ignorance." He just describes what he sees and while making no judgments he captures the hopelessness and futility of the whole enterprise. He calls Viet Nam as a little war of rats - "a place of sneaking and gnawing and of people who see nothing and hear nothing and spend days finding nothing, and who are hit in the back of the head by a shot that comes from nowhere." We learn about the business of war and the emotion. For his coverage of the Kennedy Assassination he interviews everyone from the surgeon to the Clifton Pollard, grave digger and the last man to serve Kennedy. He covers civil rights, black attitudes and racism by talking to the people involved. In his coverage of the Selma march we get the whole picture as he talks with the marchers, the police, the feds, the uninvolved and the often hostile observers about their opinions, hopes and fears. Breslin teaches us to look, see and experience what is around us and in the process we learn about Breslin, New York and the people who surround him. This is a great book to read while drinking a beer.