Wednesday, January 24, 2007

E. Howard Hunt

From Fred Blosser


You may already have flagged this for the blog if the story was reported this morning in your local paper.  The Washington Post reports that Watergate figure and Gold Medal author E. Howard Hunt died yesterday at age 88.  Story linked here:  The obit notes Hunt's career as a novelist, including his work as Gordon Davis, Robert Dietrich, and other noms-de-plume.   Paperback collectors will recall that at the height of the Watergate story (1973-74), Pinnacle brought several of his old Gold Medal books back to print under his own name to capitalize on the publicity.  As David St. John, he also wrote a series of spy novels for Signet in the mid-'60s about Peter Ward, an imitation James Bond.

As I've noted before, I remember thumbing through a 1947-maybe 1948 Esquire about twenty years ago and finding an article about the leading young literary writers to come out of WW 11. Mailer, Capote, major players like that--and included among them was E. Howard Hunt. Apparently he wrote pretty good war novel. But by 1951 he was publishing paperback originals, which had to indicate a real career crash back then.I've never seen that satisfactorily explained by the way.

Also Bill Crider has slide show of Hunt's pb covers. You can count the decades of his career when you see them. You and link to it from my Links list here.


Anonymous said...

I would refer interested readers to a long essay by Gore Vidal, "The Art and Arts of E. Howard Hunt," which places Hunt in the context you're referring to, Ed. If Vidal doesn't explain that career "crash," he does offer a fascinating, witty survey of Hunt's career. The essay is included in Vidals book, MATTERS OF FACT AND OF FICTION (Random House, 1977).

--Stephen Mertz

Anonymous said...

Also, you might consider the predicament Marijane Meeker describes in HIGHSMITH...even after STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, Patricia Highsmith was certainly getting attention from her novels published by Knopf, but pitiful advances, while her womanfriend Meeker was raking it in as Vin Packer and others writing for Gold Medal. And Anthony Boucher/H. H. Holmes was probably not the only person who didn't really see too much difference in the quality of the work, even if he was the only one reviewing both hardcovers and paperbacks in the NYC papers.