Mark Steyn's Passing Parade Paperback – 1 Nov 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
A lot of Steyn's subjects lived to remarkably long lives. One who didn't was Wendy Wasserstein. Mark Steyn laments the fact that she didn't. Politically, they were oceans apart, but Steyn openly admires Wasserstein as a playwright and misses her as a person. It's that kind of humanity which makes this book.
But these ones are a celebration of humanity, a confirmation that people make history rather than the other way round. They're convincing because, unlike most obituary writers, Steyn either has first hand experience of his subjects, or deep knowledge of what they did.
He's full of unexpected revelations - Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the guy who founded modern Taiwan, was so engaging that Eleanor Roosevelt moved her into the White House and swung the US behind her warlord husband. That changed history.
He's funny - he summarizes the famously accident-prone daredevil Evel Knieval, thus: 'If he ain't in action, he's in traction.'
He knows a lot about 20th Century popular music, and his final piece on Bill Miller, the pianist who accompanied Sinatra's big hits, is very moving.
Having read some of the author's other works I was surprised about the familiarity and obvious love of the "Great American Songbook" revealed here for the first time (to me, at least). Many of the paeans here are connected with Tin Pan Alley characters, the Gershwins, Lerners, the greats.
The final eulogy is to Bill Miller, Frank Sinatra's long time pianist. Gorgeous piece. Worth the price of purchase alone.
(re-reading his 2002 obit on Paula Yates caused a pang, after the drug-assisted death of her daughter Peaches Geldof. Mark is a seer of our time)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent - erudite and articulate essayist, who has the added advantage of not taking himself too seriously. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Paul Cahill
Some wonderful writing by Mark again with superb anecdotes and stories of famous people who have recently deceased. Read morePublished 20 months ago by johnbuk