A Late Education, Episodes In A Life, Alan Moorehead [1910-1983]; Harper & Row (1970 hardcover)
Things were going well after reading this memoir & a rave review was in the works. Then, something was discovered that, to me, undermined the credibility of the story told.
"ALE" is definitely recommended! Moorehead's prose is exemplary & in instances, at length, brilliant. The ending of the book is nothing short of amazing. Perfect.
What's not acceptable is that trust has been abused (not by the author). Once this happens...
Let someone else vouch for the reliability of what you are about to read, because the entire plot, & ultimately, the credibility of the memoir depends on the truth of the story about what had been originally said about the street address of the funeral home in which the service of his deceased best friend, Alex Clifford, is to be held in 1952.
(Leave it at that. Further detail would "spoil" the narrative's suspense.)
Added to the review of "Sunset & Twilight, From the Diaries of 1947-58," Bernard Berenson [1865-1959]; Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. (1963 hardcover; added to review on 10/08/14):
"Journalist & author Alan Moorehead (1910-1983) went through his 'Dante's Reset' ('midlife crisis' is a loathsome phrase) while staying at Bernard Berenson's villa in Florence after World War II, in the late 1940s.
"He greatly appreciated his host's kind disposition & generosity during his extended & impenetrable writer's drought (considering the number of articles & books that Moorehead wrote in his lifetime, you'd think this to be impossible. It did happen).
"If you have the time, take a look at Moorehead's memoir, 'A Late Education, Episodes In A Life' (1970), in which Berenson's thoughtfulness is documented & appreciated.
"Also be advised that:
" 'ALE' was stitched together from Moorehead's autobiographical essays & articles years after a medical stroke in December 1966 had rendered him unable to speak, read or write for the remainder of his life (1967-1983. Source: Moorehead's profile on Wikipedia, 10/08/14).
"This practice was not acknowledged by Random House. RH did not provide the memoir with a Preface, in which such a critically defining circumstance should have been stated. THIS IS AN ACT OF DECEIT BY OMISSION.
For these stories to "fit" together into a memoir, for continuity to exist from chapter to chapter, text MUST have been edited. Things must have been cut & other things must have been added.
This in itself isn't a big deal; this is a variation of the accepted practice of abridging a best seller in later decades when it is reissued. Some of the original material by that time has inevitably become irrelevant & is expendable. Background information about people once famous & now forgotten must be added in order to provide clarity & historical context.
The point is that when this is done, the abridged edition is CLEARLY IDENTIFIED as having been abridged.
The alteration of Moorehead's original articles & essays was not acknowledged in a Preface to "A Late Education." And that stinks.
"Also Note That: In the text of the Wikipedia profile, 'A Late Education' provides a bogus copyright date of '1972.' It was published in 1970, a date provided by my physical copy of the book (it is also correctly listed in Moorehead's bibliography that follows this profile)."