$900 Out-of-Print Books, Moscow and Other Letters to the Editor

The Man Who Saw America To the Editor: Robert Gottlieb’s riveting essay on John Gunther (July 4) and his epic writings about people, ...


To the Editor:

Robert Gottlieb’s riveting essay on John Gunther (July 4) and his epic writings about people, nations and continents is fascinating. However, my inability to purchase Gunther’s “Inside U.S.A.” (due to out-of-print status) for anything less than the cost of a used Buick is discouraging.

It’s as if Gottlieb lauded the tasty meat of a dodo bird. As he quite properly pleads — American publishers, make Gunther’s works reappear!

Brian Perera
Upper Arlington, Ohio

To the Editor:

Robert Gottlieb’s wonderful essay on John Gunther’s “Inside U.S.A.” made my day. As Gottlieb noted in his essay, the book is currently out of print. I find this very unfortunate and I highly endorse his request to an American publisher to “make it reappear.”

I did find a copy for sale on Amazon, but at about $900 and, having recently retired, it was a little too pricey for me. Although at a cost of $1 per page, maybe it’s a bargain.

Ira Brief
Clark, N.J.

To the Editor:

Many thanks for Gottlieb’s essay on Gunther, which gave us all a rousing Fourth of July. Gunther was dynamite, and Gottlieb is right about his “eagle eye.” The edition in “Inside U.S.A.” in my parents’ library had two last-minute footnotes on newly elected politicians who were likely to go places: John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

David Lebedoff
Minneapolis

To the Editor:

I fully share Gottlieb’s enthusiasm for Gunther’s “Inside U.S.A.,” which I have read and reread many times since discovering it as a teenager over half a century ago on my parents’ bookshelves.

However, I can’t agree that Gunther’s “Inside Europe” (in its various prewar editions) “helped alert the world to the realities of … Stalinism.”

To the contrary, Gunther described Stalin’s new Soviet Constitution as “a vitally important document … which provides for creation of a two-chamber parliament much like that of the Western democracies” and in which the “rights of citizens are safeguarded.”

As to the purge show trials, Gunther rejected the claim that they were “a colossal frame-up” and wrote that “no fair-minded person can read the verbatim report … and still believe the confessions could have been fabricated.”

Clearly, Gunther was a more reliable guide to Moscow, Idaho, than to Moscow, U.S.S.R.

Henry D. Fetter
Los Angeles

To the Editor:

The essay on John Gunther’s “Inside U.S.A.” mentioned Lloyd Gaines, who sued for admission to the all-white University of Missouri law school and won his case when the Supreme Court declared the university must set up a separate law school just for him.

They did, but he never attended it because he disappeared completely three months later. There are many theories, but no trace of him since 1939. Maybe it’s time for an investigative book?

Judy Baldwin
Springfield, Va.

To the Editor:

Thanks to Robert Gottlieb for his informative essay on John Gunther’s “Inside U.S.A.” The 1947 book was so popular that it inspired a successful Broadway revue starring Beatrice Lillie and Jack Haley that opened in 1948 and ran for 399 performances.

The team of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz provided the songs, which include “Rhode Island Is Famous for You” — one of the funniest songs ever written — and the beautiful ballad “Haunted Heart.”

The book may now be out of print, but original cast recordings are still in circulation to enjoy.

Louis Harrison
Austin, Texas

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Newsrust - US Top News: $900 Out-of-Print Books, Moscow and Other Letters to the Editor
$900 Out-of-Print Books, Moscow and Other Letters to the Editor
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