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Gangsters and Gold Diggers

Gangsters and Gold Diggers

(2003)
Old New York, the Jazz Age, And the Birth of Broadway
A non fiction book by

 

"The richest imagination in contemporary American letters."
Lawrence Block


From Publishers Weekly
Charyn's paean to Jazz Age New York stars the multifarious characters who graced the stages, speakeasies and diners around Broadway in the 1920s and '30s. Never, he says, was New York "New Yorkier" than in this "lawless, unbridled mecca where everybody could meet-hoodlums, heiresses, jazz singers, funny girls, dentists from Des Moines (so long as they had a little money)...." Around Broadway, Al Jolson rubbed shoulders with Ellin Mackay, "the richest girl in America," and George Gershwin would run into Mae West. In the words of nightclub owner Texas Guinan, "Better a square foot of New York than all the rest of the world in a lump." High spirits, though, don't prevent deep flaws in Charyn's book. The author, who has written more than 30 books of fiction, memoir and cultural studies, presents a huge array of characters, few of whom are explored deeply or coherently. Many of the myriad players are cursorily glossed over and then dropped from the narrative. The result is like walking into a glittering party where you don't know a soul and nobody bothers to make introductions. Those who already know the major and minor stars of this era will glean some colorful anecdotes, taken from disparate sources. Al Capone, for example, "liked to drink whisky out of a teacup" and Zelda Fitzgerald, before her breakdowns, was prone to dive into the fountain at Union Square. The force of the running prose, reminiscent of the high-kicking Follies girls, might carry interested readers through the disorganized narrative. Illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap
A legendary New York writer picks up where Gangs of New York left off and brings the guys and dolls of old Broadway to life…

Praise for Jerome Charyn:

"Charyn is a magician. He's also sui generis. There isn't another writer in America even remotely like him." -Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"Jerome Charyn has been recreating the absurdity, the frenzy and the menace of contemporary life, using wit and imagination and style to hold a threatening world at bay…a contemporary American Balzac." -New York Newsday

"Charyn has tamed his prose and makes it perform tricks. It's a New York prose, street-smart, sly and full of lurches, like a series of subway stops on the way to hell." -New York Times

"[Charyn's] books constitute the highest kind of novelist art…absolutely unique among contemporary writers." -Los Angeles Times

Book Description
Once upon a time Broadway was just another street. In Gangsters & Gold Diggers, Jerome Charyn transports readers back to a swaggering, golden era in American life-the Roaring Twenties-when Broadway suddenly exploded into Broadway.

Damon Runyon was the first chronicler of the Big Street. He created the myth of Broadway, invented the "slanguage." The Ziegfeld Follies became its most important institution-everybody, including Zelda Fitzgerald, wanted to be a Follies Girl. Then came Lindy's, a delicatessen and hangout for actors, bootleggers, singers, hustlers, chorus girls, and celebrities. Charyn looks at the men and women who helped make Broadway the most glamorous place on the planet, from Mae West to Fanny Brice, Legs Diamond to Irving Berlin, Louise Brooks to William Randolph Hearst, Scott Fitzgerald to Arnold Rothstein and the Gatsby-like gangster Owen Madden, and many more.

In lively, cinematic prose, Charyn captures Broadway's vagabondage, outlaw culture, and self-mythologizing. He brings a rollicking, rough-and-tumble period in New York history to life-conjuring an intoxicating portrait of Jazz Age excess by examining the denizens of that greatest of all "staggering machine[s] of desire," the street known as Broadway.

 
Used availability for Jerome Charyn's Gangsters and Gold Diggers


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Hardback Editions

October 2003 : USA Hardback
Title: Gangsters and Gold Diggers: Old New York, the Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway
Author(s): Jerome Charyn
ISBN: 1-56858-278-1 / 978-1-56858-278-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

December 2004 : USA Paperback
Title: Gangsters and Gold Diggers: Old New York, the Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway
Author(s): Jerome Charyn
ISBN: 1-56025-643-5 / 978-1-56025-643-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2004 : USA Paperback
Title: Gangsters and Gold Diggers: Old New York, the Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway
Author(s): Jerome Charyn
ISBN: 1-56858-311-7 / 978-1-56858-311-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Pr
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

April 2009 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: Gangsters and Gold Diggers: Old New York, the Jazz Age, and the Birth of Broadway
Author(s): Jerome Charyn
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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