Recently returned from a vacation that afforded the opportunity for some reading. A modest library was available that had a title that may be familiar to many of you. For those for whom it may not be, I know the subject matter is one you would enjoy.
The book was titled Selected Letters of Dashiell Hammett 1921 - 1960.
The book, thanks to the generosity of Hammett's daughter, Josephine Hammett Marshall, includes hundreds of letters written by her father throughout most of his adult life. The letters are grouped into five chapters each starting off with a description of the circumstances in Hammett's life for the time period covered.
The letters themselves are addressed to possibly 20 people, principally playwright Lillian Hellman, his daughters Josephine and Mary, and his wife Josephine.
The time period covers his life from the early short-story years, his military time, periods of success, periods of failure, which ultimately ended with poverty, his problems with alcohol and ill health, the time spent in jail for his defiance of the 1950's anti-communism sentiment, as well as the personal aspects of his life including marriage, fatherhood, divorce, and various romantic interludes and relationships. Most notably with Lillian Hellman.
Interesting also, is the vast reference to the books he read during his lifetime. There are somewhere around 50 photographs in the book. I wish there were many more.
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