Bernard DeVoto is coming out of the woodwork!
Who’s Bernard DeVoto? you ask [before clicking on the kindly provided Wikipedia link, that is]. I thought the same thing when I donated a dollar or two at a grocery store in Nashua, New Hampshire about a year ago for a book with his name on it, with the august title, The Year of Decision: 1846, written in 1942. And since then the book has sat, nerdily promising in a Gore Vidal sort of way, but as yet unread, on my bookshelf.
I had assumed that DeVoto was an obscure writer who had been forgotten in the 60-plus years since this book was written. But no! And then, but no again! Not only did DeVoto act as the “outside critic” for the potential publisher of the then obscure Norman Mailer’s first novel, The Naked and the Dead (he wrote a “condescending six-page critique”), but he also had some very strong opinions about martinis (one of “only two cocktails” in his mind). And finally, someone who has actually read The Year of Decision: 1846. And apparently it’s good!