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Ford takes the reader from the earliest days of the republic to statehood, secession, and on into reconstruction. Meet the intrepid Texas Ranger Jack Hays. Ride from Matamoros to Mexico City with the "Los Diablos Tejanos." Trailblaze a trade route from San Antonio to El Paso with the Ford-Neighbors expedition.
Brilliantly edited by Stephen B. Oates, this personal narrative of a time, place, and adventure, all larger than life itself, is a must read for all who are interested in Texas and its history.
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Directions are very clear and the gallery of beautiful artwork throughout will get your mind creating ideas for your own beautiful pieces.
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The author contends that for a certain interval these men associated with and admired each others literary accomplishments. "South of London in 1900, a galaxy of talent assembled that beggars in accomplishment anything the English language has since produced." He provides quotations and photographs that demonstrate social intercourse between the big five. Between the initial overview and the concluding summary, three chapters provide respectively a view of Stephen Crane on a visit to England to meet the other masters of ficti! onal prose, a study of the collaboration between Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad, and an examination of one of English literature's most famous disputes - James vs. Wells.
I found the book informative and interesting and recommend it to any admirer of any of the five writers singularly or in combination. About those we admire our curiosity is insatiable. Did Shakespeare like his eggs over easy or sunny side up? We have his Hamlet, his Lear, isn't that enough? Some might say no. We have Crane's "Open Boat", Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", Ford's *Good soldier, James' *Ambassadors, Wells' *Time Machine*. Still, it's natural to inquire about the virtues, quirks, and foibles of their creators. *Group Portrait* gives us a taste of the traits that rounds out these illustrious authors.
A sad epilogue to which Mr. Delbanco refers in his lead chapter is that this literary summer was so brief. Crane died in 1900. Eventually the other associations wither! ed. By 1906 the friendship between Conrad and Ford had coo! led. *Boon* published in 1915 dissolved Wells' ties to James with its ridicule of the latter. For a while there was Camelot albeit a loose confederacy of brilliant writers. A genius needs a tough ego to sustain him for the long haul to fortune and fame. An alternate lesson from *Group portrait, perhaps one not intended, but nevertheless patent, is that collaboration must eventually give way to ego.
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