Splendor in the Short Grass: The Grover Lewis Reader

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Honorable Mention, Carr P. Collins Award for Best Book of Nonfiction, 2006 Grover Lewis was one of the defining voices of the New Journalism of the 1960s and 1970s. His wry, acutely observed, fluently written essays for Rolling Stone and the Village Voice set a standard for other writers of the time, including Hunter S. Thompson, Joe Eszterhas, Timothy Ferris, Chet Flippo, and Tim Cahill, who said of Lewis, He was the best of us. Pioneering the on location reportage that has become a fixture of features about moviemaking and live music, Lewis cut through the celebrity hype and captured the real spirit of the counterculture, including its artificiality and surprising banality. Even today, his articles on Woody Guthrie, the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont, directors Sam Peckinpah and John Huston, and the filming of The Last Picture Show and One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest remain some of the finest writing ever done on popular culture. To introduce Grover Lewis to a new generation of readers and collect his best work under one cover, this anthology contains articles he wrote for Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Playboy, Texas Monthly, and New West, as well as excerpts from his unfinished novel The Code of the West and his incomplete memoir Goodbye If You Call That Gone and poems from the volume I'll Be There in the Morning If I Live. Jan Reid and W. K. Stratton have selected and arranged the material around themes that preoccupied Lewis throughout his life-movies, music, and loss. The editors' biographical introduction, the foreword by Dave Hickey, and a remembrance by Robert Draper discuss how Lewis's early struggles to escape his working-class, anti-intellectual Texas roots for the world of ideas in books and movies made him a natural proponent of the counterculture that he chronicled so brilliantly. They also pay tribute to Lewis's groundbreaking talent as a stylist, whose unique voice deserves to be more widely known by today's readers.