Summer Miscellany from Bauman Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
Bauman Rare Books recently issued a Summer Miscellany, a collection of almost 500 items that can best be described as, well, miscellaneous. There is no theme to this catalogue. Anything might appear. It is a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, great literary works from the likes of Hemingway, Dickens, Faulkner, and Seuss, more recent novels from Michener, Irving, and King, poetry from Whitman, Shelley, and Poe, accounts of wars from Churchill and Eisenhower, economics from Keynes and Galbraith, political thought from Jefferson, Lincoln, and Robert Kennedy, plus voyages and travels in early America and to the frozen polar regions, science, sports, space travel, law... The list goes on. You can look for just about anything in this catalogue and stand a decent chance of finding it. Here are a few of the widely diverse items being offered.
Perhaps we shouldn't start with a book about TV. After all, it was once feared television would replace books, and to some extent, it probably has. However, this one is special. The book is How Sweet It Was, by Arthur Shulman and Roger Youman. This 1966 book is about television's golden age, and includes 1,400 photographs. Many readers will notice the title is a play on Jackie Gleason's "how sweet it is" line, which is what makes this copy unique. Gleason's "Honeymooners," though it ran only a season, and that was fifty years ago, remains on any short list of the greatest television comedies ever. This copy is signed by all four of its stars, Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, and Joyce Randolph. Carney has contributed a sketch of Charlie Chaplin. Item 207. $1,850.
One of the most thorough and devastating defeats imaginable was suffered by Paraguay as a result of the Paraguayan War, or War of the Triple Alliance. Border disputes and the like led Paraguay into war against three of its neighbors, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, in 1864. That might sound like a mismatch, but at the start of the war, Paraguay had the strongest standing army. However, in time, sheer numbers proved daunting. After a series of victories in the first year, the allies pushed the Paraguayans back to their border in 1866, and by 1868, had captured the capital and installed their own government. Still, the Paraguayans fought on, conducting guerilla style attacks from the mountains until 1870, when their leader was killed. By war's end, Paraguayans were fighting with units composed of 12-15-year-old boys and women. Estimates are that 60-80% of the population of Paraguay died, including perhaps 90% of its men. Famed British explorer Richard Burton was serving as British consul in Brazil at the time, and accompanied their troops to the front. He noted the Paraguayans displayed "a stubbornness of purpose, a savage valor, and an enduring desperation rare in the annals of mankind." Item 82 is his 1870 book, Letters from the Battle-fields of Paraguay. $3,000.