cover image Rockets & Rodeos CL

Rockets & Rodeos CL

Thomas Mallon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $19.95 (290pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-939-9

Mallon ( A Book of One's Own ), literary editor of GQ , here sandwiches together 12 uneven essays in pursuit of the quintessentially American experience. His wry tone frequently serves him well--the United Nations is ``endlessly verbose,'' the 1992 Sundance Film Festival is ``held together with fairly uniform ideological glue''--and he captures the telling ironies of a space-shuttle launch and a rodeo in Tulsa. Most of these pieces first appeared in such journals as the American Spectator , and, unfortunately, not all of them merit preservation in book form: a plodding account of an unexceptional criminal trial in New York City, a bit of ephemera about the 1990 U.S. Senate race in Rhode Island between Claiborne Pell and Claudine Schneider, and a sympathetic but none-too-deep road-trip account of the Vice President, in which Mallon concludes that ``Dan Quayle is no Dan Quayle.'' (Jan.)