Monday, September 14, 2020

Discovering Pete Hamill Shortly after His Passing

 In early August I found out that writer Pete Hamill died at age 85.  I certainly heard about him, but never knew the details of his life and career.  According to his obituary in the New York Times, he was a "celebrated reporter, columnist, and the top editor of The New York Post and The Daily News; a foreign correspondent for The Post and The Saturday Evening Post; and a writer for New York Newsday, The Village Voice, Esquire, and other publications. He wrote a score of books, mostly novels but also biographies, collections of short stories and essays, and screenplays, some adapted from his books." I found out about a documentary Breslin and Hamill Deadline Artists that I was able to view since I am a subscriber to HBO.

I decided to seek out some of his publications.  I bought his autobiography, A Drinking Life on It was published in 1994.

He traced his life starting out as a young boy in Brooklyn.  He was very interested in cartoons but became a writer much later.  His first job was with the New York Post.  He moved to several cities in different countries and eventually most back to Brooklyn.  He ended this partial autobiography in 1974 when he finally kicked his drinking habit.

I also bought Downtown which I thought was an autobiography of his later years.  It was published in 2004.  I was surprised to find out that it was a guide to Lower Manhattan where Pete lived for most of his later life.  He offers a historical perspective on many of the streets and attractions from the Battery to Times Square.  It can actually be useful to tourists.

Should I explore more of his works?  I can't always read about baseball or rock music.

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