The Secret Parts of Fortune: Three Decades of Intense Investigations and Edgy Enthusiasms

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Random House Publishing Group, Sep 18, 2000 - Social Science - 848 pages
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In 1998, Ron Rosenbaum published Explaining Hitler, a national bestseller and one of the most acclaimed books of the year, hailed by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times as "lucid and exciting . . . a provocative work of cultural history that is as compelling as it is thoughtful, as readable as it is smart." Time called it "brilliant . . . restlessly probing, deeply intelligent."

The acclaim came as no surprise to those who have been reading Ron Rosenbaum's journalism, published widely in America's best magazines for three decades. The man known to readers of his New York Observer column as "The Edgy Enthusiast" has distinguished himself as a writer with extraordinary range, an ability to tell stories that are frequently philosophical, comical, and suspenseful all at once.

In this classic collection of three decades of groundbreaking nonfiction, Rosenbaum takes readers on a wildly original tour of the American landscape, deep into "the secret parts" of the great mysteries, controversies, and enigmas of our time.

These are intellectual adventure stories that reveal:

 ¸  The occult rituals of Skull and Bones, the legendary Yale secret society that has produced spies, presidents, and wanna-bes, including George Bush and his son George W. (that's the author, with skull, on the cover, in front of the Skull and Bones crypt)

 ¸  The Secrets of the Little Blue Box, the classic story of the birth of hacker culture

 ¸  The Curse of the Dead Sea Scrolls; "The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal"; the underground
realms of "unorthodox" cancer-cure clinics in Mexico; the mind of Kim Philby, "the spy of the century"; the unsolved murder of JFK's mistress; and the mysteries of "Long Island, Babylon"
 ¸  Sharp, funny (sometimes hilarious) cultural critiques that range from Elvis to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Bill Gates to Oliver Stone, Thomas Pynchon to Mr. Whipple, J. D. Salinger to the Zagat Guide, Helen Vendler to Isaac Bashevis Singer
 ¸  And a marriage proposal to Rosanne Cash

Forcefully reported, brilliantly opinionated, and elegantly phrased, The Secret Parts of Fortune will endure as a vital record of American culture from 1970 to the present.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - HHS-Staff - LibraryThing

Reviewed by Mr. Overeem (Language Arts) It's hard for me to imagine an essay collection that is as thought-provoking, pleasurable, and varied (in equal proportions) as this one. Rosenbaum is a "buff ... Read full review

The secret parts of fortune: three decades of intense investigations and edgy enthusiasms

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Rosenbaum (Explaining Hitler) has collected some previously published essays that span three decades of his accomplished career as a journalist and illustrate his wide-ranging interests. The sheer ... Read full review


Title Page
Dream Dancing
Secrets of the Little Blue
Inside the Canned Laughter
The Subterranean World of the Bomb
Of a Fire at the Billy Rose
Dead Ringers
Troy Donahue Was Always Just Like He
Turn On Tune In Drop Dead
The Frantic Screaming Voice of the Rich and Famous
The Passions of Mario Cuomo
Tales from the Cancer Cure Underground
Oswalds Ghost
Link Founding Father to Sleaze King
Back on the Watergate Case with Inspector
The Devil and the Details

A Killing in Camelot
Chariots of the Insurance Salesmen
The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones
The Corpse as Big as the Ritz
Whipples Last Squeeze
The Connoisseur of Scoundrels
Gods Fillin Teeth
Portrait of a SerialKiller Hoax
Three Intriguing Archival Mysteries
The Secret Parts of Certain Icons
Two Faces of Paranoia
To the Shores of LightOr My First Latin Lesson

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About the author (2000)

Ron Rosenbaum's work has appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Esquire, and The New York Times Magazine. His book Explaining Hitler has been translated into ten languages. He writes "The Edgy Enthusiast" column for the New York Observer and is at work on his next book, on Shakespeare scholars. Aware of the controversy over authors posing with their pets on book jackets, he has not posed with his soulful cat, Stumpy (depicted here), whose comic genius is described on pages 710-15 of this volume.

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