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4.0 out of 5 stars
10
4.0 out of 5 stars
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Penguin Modern Classics)
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on 14 August 2016
There were times while reading this astonishing book that I wanted to rate it zero, and time when I wanted to rate it 10 - now I'd rate it 20 if I could.

It's a book I've heard of on and off for the last 40 years, and I am so glad I finally got round to reading it. It's a work I can't categorise or designate, it fits no genre and refuses to conform to whatever you might be expecting it to do or how you might be expecting it to develop.

Agee is good at using lists - lists of objects and things, lists of adjectives, and my list of adjectives that seem to accrete to the book includes; infuriating, inspiring, challenging, emotional, TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, demanding, domineering, solipsistic, all-encompassing, sorrowful, joyful, - I can't list them all. You need to surrender to this book to get the most out of it, it's no good struggling against it or nit-picking. It's structured like a symphony and affects you like one. It's one of those books that has to be read in each lifetime.
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on 12 July 2001
when agee set to work on this with walker evans, he hoped to document three tenant families in the american south during the 1930's... what he did however is a mix of first person and third person prose, poetry, images and every type of writing conceivable. Not particularly easy to read, but there are many gems hidden in here. Not your average american "classic" to say the least. Agee was arguably a creative genius, although at some points he comes out as a mumbling drunkard. Evans' photos are terrific and the book is very touching... a ground breaking book without doubt.
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on 19 August 2006
A chance to experience a much-praised classic. The book begins with 64 pages of Walker Evans' pictures, as pithy and full of impact as the day they were taken. There then follows Agee's text, 411 pages of the most tortured, convoluted, pretentious, rambling verbosity I have read in a good long time. One can assume from the fact that Agee struggled to find a publisher, and that the planned parts 2 and 3 were never written, that even at the time his work was considered barely readable, and it has aged very badly. But the book is still worth buying for the pictures!
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on 7 September 2009
Rather than reading, I mounted an assault on this indescribable and demanding "cooperative human effort". Agee's torrential prose is outrageous, arrogant and desperate as he issues a rally cry, and displays a railing anger against the fabric of society (teachers are described as at best being "servants of unconscious murder") as he describes the lot of Alabama tenant farmers in the 1930s. The book's consideration of existence is made all the more resonant through the haunting photography of Walker Evans. Half exposition of a new form of writing, and half explanation of the exposition, the author demands much as he sets out his grandiose ambition - "by consuming all that is within you into the never relaxed determination that this shall be made different, and shall be made right". Influenced heavily by his communist views and his religious background, this unsettling and unique book has made an impression - to live more carefully and more cooperatively and consider responsibilities more fully.
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on 30 April 2016
dull as dull can be
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on 7 December 2016
A seminal book by a seminal photographer. Hard hitting images. Wish the book was a little bigger tbh, however it does not attract away from the iconic images themselves. Great purchase.
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on 12 October 2012
this was something I had wanted to read for quite a few years....to be quite honest it was disappointing..a mish-mash of text jumping about all over the place....not enough of Evans' photographs..or am I missing something?......is it a precis?.......I'll give it another read this weekend.
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on 21 October 2016
Fantastic service and an equally fantastic and very interesting historical account. The writing style can be heavy going at times.
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on 31 March 2015
fantastic photos. very moving book
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on 28 November 2015
Excellent book, great subject, well written, good print quality.
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