An American Past: An Early Autobiography

Bentz Plagemann, Author William Morrow & Company $19.95 (247p) ISBN 978-0-688-09718-9
In this deeply affecting memoir, novelist Plagemann ( This Is Goggle) includes pieces originally contributed to the Atlantic , Reader's Digest and other magazines. Born in Ohio in 1913, he left home as a youth to learn the book trade at Kroch's Bookstore in Chicago and Brentano's in New York City, publishing his first novel at age 28. Serving in the Navy in WW II, Plagemann contracted polio. His accounts of his bout with the disease and his efforts to learn to walk, his hospitalization at the Warm Springs Foundation in Georgia and a visit by FDR are filled with courage and humor. Eloquent descriptions of Plagemann's German and Irish grandparents, of his bohemian days in Greenwich Village, of his marriage to Kitty and of getting around Manhattan with braces and a cane include encounters with figures such as Truman Capote, Kay Boyle and Arthur Brentano. The autobiography ends during the immediate postwar years as Plagemann, his wife and their son move from Manhattan to the New York countryside. This is a book to treasure. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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