Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Discovering A.H. Raskin’s review of COLLISION by Kenneth C. Crowe

One of the great disappointments of my writing life was the failure of the New York Times to review COLLISION, my book about Teamsters for a Democratic Union and the election of Ron Carey to the presidency of the union in 1992.
When COLLISION was published in February, 1993, I was told in confidence by Moe Foner of 1199, the hospital workers union, that A.H. Raskin, the great labor writer, had written a review of the book for the New York Times. Moe was a mutual friend of both Raskin and me.
I so looked forward to reading what Abe Raskin (whom I greatly admired) had to say about my book. Eventually, COLLISION was reviewed by the Washington Post, Newsday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer; the list goes on of major newspapers and magazines all over the country. But it doesn’t include the New York Times.
Raskin, who had been ill for some time, died at the age of 82 in December, 1993.
I had always wondered whether he finished the review and then: I was roaming the internet where I discovered a reference to Raskin’s papers including “Review of Collision by Kenneth C. Crowe undated.”
Finally, I could read what Raskin said about my book.
I went to New York University’s Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, where I discovered that the Raskin papers had been processed in 2011 by project archivist Daniel Michelson.
I love Abe Raskin’s review. These excerpts explain why:
“In ‘Collision’, written by Kenneth C. Crowe, we find an accurate, brilliant, fact-filled chronology of the plight of the rank and file in their attempt to take back the reins of power.
“For the student of labor wishing to be well versed in the inner revolution of the rank and file against the stronghold of the mob, this book will serve as an invaluable source of information...
“Citing the difficult rise to authority in the blatantly non-democratic Teamsters, the book describes the struggle of those such as the brave and devotedly committed union patriot, Ronald Carey and his 35 year ascent to his present position as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.”
(Raskin gives credit to TDU for the significant support that rank and file organization gave to Carey.)
Raskin continued: “In years to come ‘Collision’ will be viewed as an invaluable reference book, an encyclopedia of the post-Hoffa Teamster era.”
Raskin’s assessment of the significance of COLLISION as “an invaluable reference book” has proven true. COLLISION has been cited in numerous civil and criminal lawsuits, research papers, and labor books.

A suggestion: my novel, THE TRUCKERS, has been described as a fun read. It is serious and tragic too. Try it free on KindleSmashwordsBarnes and Noble, or Apple.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Disdain for the unpaid novelist

I looked into the eyes of a novelist friend over lunch last week and sensed disdain as I told him that I was approaching 45,000 downloads of my free ebooks, three novels: THE DREAM DANCER, THE HERO, and THE JYNX.
He put the old fashioned notion of writing for money that I saw in his eyes into words: “And how much have you been paid.” No question mark. It wasn’t a question, but I will answer it:
I wasn’t paid in cash, but the profit has come in other forms. Before I made the novels free I charged to read them, managing to sell a few dozen. I wanted a larger audience and I have achieved that along with the occasional review or “like it,” or stars.
My novelist friend’s one novel, published many years ago, is still for sale as previously owned on Amazon with other reaping the cash; and it is available in public libraries as a free read. No money to be made there either. He hasn’t been able to find a traditional publisher for his later works; I know that empty feeling.
In case you are curious, I do have three more novels for sale at modest prices on the various internet sites (Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple iTunes, Sony, etc. They are: OOOEELIE, THE TRUCKERS, and THE ABSCONDER.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A few thoughts on THE GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin

THE GAME OF THRONES by George R. R. Martin: When you read a book and want to read on, obviously that’s the sign of a good piece of writing. The Game of Thrones is a short book at 820 pages (the print version). I read it on my Kindle.
I give it five stars for entertainment, not substance. The characters—there are many protagonists--emerge in their different ways as jealous, cruel, fearless, brave, crazy, vicious, ambitious to a fault, loyal and submissive. Having said that I didn’t come away with any special perspective on human nature. The author simplified a complex cast and subject by using the technique of focusing on a single point of view in chapters entitled with a character’s name.
There are interesting touches of fantasy, an atmosphere of constant threat, and a mystery of what nightmares lay beyond the wall.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST is available as an e-book on Smashwords, Kindle, and Barnes and Noble; as a paperback on Amazon.