cover image An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York

An Odd Book: How the First Modern Pop Culture Reporter Conquered New York

R. Scott Williams. R. Scott Williams, $18.99 trade paper (284p) ISBN 978-0-9986997-0-7

Williams (Forgotten Adventures of Richard Halliburton) evokes the glamour and glitz of New York high society in this biography of Oscar Odd McIntyre (1884–1938), whose syndicated column, “New York Day by Day,” made him one of the highest-paid reporters of his era. The book chronicles McIntyre’s life from his upbringing in Ohio, where he dropped out of high school and wormed his way into a job as staff reporter at the Dayton Herald, through to his later years in the city that never sleeps, living on Park Avenue and hobnobbing with celebrities such as impresario Flo Ziegfeld and movie stars Douglas Fairbanks and Rudy Valentino. Williams provides readers with a solid sense of his subject’s character, whether through descriptions of his early clashes with his father or of his social anxiety and general demeanor (McIntyre dubbed it “chronic melancholia”), and draws heavily on McIntyre’s prodigious output of columns as well as his unpublished autobiography and personal correspondence to give readers a sense of his voice as a writer. The strength of the book lies in the backdrop: Williams traces the changing tides of the newspaper and entertainment industries in the early decades of the 20th century while telling this little-known rags-to-riches story.[em] (BookLife) [/em]