In a distinguished career that spans more than a half century, Louis D. Rubin, Jr., has been a reporter, editor, writer, publisher, and teacher. Who better, then, to compile an indispensable reference that writers, editors, and curious readers of all kinds will turn to again and again? In A Writer’s Companion, Rubin has drawn on his years of accumulated wisdom—as well as the advice of some fifty prominent writers from various fields—to put together in a single volume a vast array of information on subjects of a surpassingly diverse range, from history, literature, art, science, and philosophy to finance, law, sports, travel, and gastronomy.
A Writer’s Companion is a book that will provide not only information but also a great deal of intellectual entertainment. Where else could you find a list of famous dogs and their owners? When did the ballpoint pen first come into general use? What were the top hit songs of 1937? What’s the difference between a brigantine and a barkentine? Where did the B&O Railroad’s Royal Blue run from and to, where did it stop, when was it discontinued? During which years was Johnny Unitas the Baltimore Colts’ starting quarterback? Who were the cowboy stars of the old western movies? What were the leading downtown hotels in Chicago in the 1940s? What were the top tunes in South Pacific? Who were the Cambridge Platonists? Can you name all of Shakespeare’s plays? It’s all here, along with much, much more.
Organized in such a way as to make it exceptionally easy to use, and enhanced by Rubin’s graceful and witty prose, A Writer’s Companion will merit a place on the desk of every serious wordsmith. It is also a book that will bring endless hours of pleasure to anyone who enjoys reading simply for the sake of gaining new knowledge. As Casey Stengel said, “You could look it up.”
Jerry Leath Mills is professor of English at the University of North Carolina. He is editor of Studies in Philology and a passionate hunter and angler.
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