D-Day, June 6, 1944. What Americans heard back home.

In the very early hours of June 6, 1944, radios across America came to life with the news everyone had been anticipating. First came the rumors, and then, a little after 3:30 am Eastern Time was confirmation: The invasion of Europe had begun. One widely listened-to-broadcast was from the NBC Studios in New York by Robert St. John, the legendary journalist and also our long-time friend.  We are honored on the 77th Anniversary to share the beginning of his D-Day Broadcast that day.

“This is the European Front. Once again being established in fire and blood.” — Robert St. John

Floyd Little

Word has come that Floyd Little, three-time All American running back at Syracuse University, who went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Denver Broncos, has died. He was 78. The third of the legendary backs who wore  #44 at Syracuse, behind Jim Brown and Ernie Davis, he will be remembered not only for athletic exploits but also for his impact on everybody he came in contact with.

I came to know him as an acquaintance when he wrote the Introduction to our book, Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, the Story of  Heisman Trophy Winner. We called it a Remembrance. Later, in his own books, he expanded on his feelings for Davis, who was influential in recruiting him to Syracuse.

In 2007, I encountered him at an SU Sports night in Bethesda, Maryland and told him that Universal Studios had just optioned the rights to our book. I don’t think either of us thought that the film would actually get made.  At the premiere, we reminisced  about that night when first I told him. I know he also sought out the author, Robert Gallagher to congratulate him.

In the movie, Little is played by Chadwick Boseman, in the late actor’s debut role.

Floyd Little was the definition of a  class act.

The Ernie Davis story tops ESPN’s most inspiring college football moments.

The top 10 most inspiring college football moments

In celebration of college football’s 150th anniversary, ESPN’s SportsCenter lists the top 10 most inspiring moments in the sport’s history.

Watch here

For the full inspirational story of Ernie Davis, check out Ernie Davis: The Elmira Express, the Story of  Heisman Trophy Winner. The basis for the Universal Pictures file, The Express, it is available in a special Hardcover Anniversary Edition

 

Remembering Ike

October 14th marks the birthday of Dwight David Eisenhower, our 34th President and also one of our country’s most important generals.

In 1990, the 100th anniversary of his birth, a symposium took place at Gettysburg College involving many people who knew him best. After he left office in 1960, Eisenhower retired to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

The result was a book, The Eisenhower Legacy. Discussions of Presidential Leadership, edited by Shirley Anne Warshaw. The meeting — and the book reveals many little known aspects of Eisenhower and his legacy. The book detailed the most important moments of the event.  

View more information here

A little contribution to the Bloomsday celebration

Today is Bloomsday where the more literary-minded drunks among us, gather to read passages from James Joyce’s most celebrated novel Ulysses and, well, drink. Of course, you don’t have to drink to enjoy the celebration of this influential book, considered one of the best of the 20th century.

The novel is set in one day–June 16, 1904–in the life of the protagonist, Leopold Bloom.

For the more information about Bloomsday and James Joyce, go here.

As our contribution to this day, we offer a brief except from  Lower than Angels: A Memoir of War and Peace written by the pseudonymous, W. W. Windstaff. He is writing about his time in Paris in the 20s.

Windstaff’s identity remains one of the great literary mysteries.

“No matter where the Americans came from, you could usually sell them a volume of Joyce. Most were not literary, but had heard it was a “dirty” book. You had to split with a reporter on the Herald who could do the James Joyce signature with a real feel, and even add a personal message. Of course Joyce, if you caught him before he got plastered on white wine, he’d be happy to sign one of the blue-covered books. He sang too, but I couldn’t make any money on that.”

“Bartleby Press” explained.

Over the past thirty-five years, we had often been asked about the name “Bartleby Press.” Some people do get the obvious reference to “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Herman Melville, first serialized in Putnam’s Monthly Magazine in 1853 and a few years later included in a collection of Melville stories in The Piazza Tales.  Of course, not only is the company name a homage of sorts to Melville’s tale, it led to the name of our website BartlebythePublisher.com and this space, “The Reluctant Blog.”

To celebrate our anniversary, we have issued a Commemorative edition of Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.  It includes the exact text as published in the original and is introduced by our Publisher, Jeremy Kay. He not only explains how he chose the name for our publishing enterprise, but reveals a few little-known details about Melville’s up and down literary history.

Order your copy here

Thumbs down, a positive sign? The New York Yankees may be on to something.

When a spectator at a New York-Tampa game, played at the Met’s Citi Field, expressed his displeasure at a home run by Yankees third baseman, Todd Frazier, with an extended thumb down, it was seen by millions.

The gesture, seen by most people as a sign of disapproval, was soon adopted by the Yankee players to celebrate a hit or other positive play. In this way, it can be seen as a signal of defiance, sort of an “us against the world” sort of sentiment.

Yet as Professor Ori Soltes points out in his latest book, God and the Goalposts: A Brief History of Sports, Religion, Politics, War, and Art, we don’t really know what the gladiator era hand gesture exactly signified:

When a man went down, the amphitheatre resounded with cries of habet, hoc habet!—“He’s had it!” (literally, “He has it!”)—and with cries of mitte! (“Let him go!”; literally, “Send forth/away!”) or ugula! (“Kill [him]!”). A mortally wounded fighter (in other words: already dying) was not killed before the arena audience but was carried from the site to be properly killed away from public view. One fallen, but not yet fatally, would lay down his weapon if he could, and raise his index finger (usually of the left—or in Latin, sinister—hand) to ask for mercy from his opponent, the judge, and/or the crowd. If the spectators approved that he be spared, because
he had fought gallantly enough, they would signify that approval by turning their thumbs: police verso—“with the thumb turned.” But the interesting thing is that we have no clear idea of whether verso—“turned”—means turned up or turned down, so in spite of the evolution of the English phrases “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” to signify approval and disapproval respectively, we cannot with any certainty say which direction the Romans were signifying.

The Yankees players may have inadvertently gotten it right.

Windstaff on The (Not So) Great Gatsby

The much-anticipated release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby has millions of fans and literature lovers flocking to the theaters this weekend. While we sit back and revisit F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American tale of extravagance and disillusionment in the Roaring Twenties, we remember what W. W. Windstaff had to say about living among the Lost Generation in Paris and his impressions of Fitzgerald’s magnum opus:

“The way I see it, the American expatriates were kidding themselves. They thought they were hard nuts, realists. They were bloody romantics; we all know that crap about ‘the lost generation’ and Scott’s ‘all the sad young men.’ Few really knew life down in the dirt, a lousy job and a noisy family. That’s what’s wrong with Jay Gatsby. Scott never knew a real killer, a gang lord, a mean hard-nosed bootlegger, which Gatsby was supposed to be. A big-shot rackets man. If he were, he’d not have show Daisy silk shirts, he’d have pistol-whipped Tom, her husband, and ended up running New York City. Romantics don’t love Al Capones, nor do real Gatsbys yearn over a lost love. It’s still a fine book, but it’s the dream of a lace curtain Irish poor kid snob, writing about scoring with the quality.”

—W. W. Windstaff, Lower than Angels: A Memoir of War and Peace

The Man Who Launched the British Invasion

We are pleased to announce that our latest video about Tom Lodge, Radio Caroline and Pirate Radio can now be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxnYkd6DO9s

It’s got some terrific audio clips of Tom on the air during the mid 60s.  If you missed our original video, put out when we released Tom’s book The Ship that Rocked the World: How Radio Caroline Defied the Establishment, Launched the British Invasion and Made the Planet Safe for Rock and Roll, it can also be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPZ0h6q2zSw

Or you can visit www.shipthatrocked.com for even more audio clips, to read the foreword by Steven Van Zandt and more.