Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paperback 614: The Ordeal of Private Heath / Jeb Stuart (Pyramid 106)

Paperback 614: Pyramid Books 116 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: The Ordeal of Private Heath
Author: Jeb Stuart
Cover artist: [Julian Paul]

Yours for: $11


Best things about this cover:
  • "Your knees ... I can't hear anything ... I CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING!!!"
  • Knee fetishism—truly "the gravest sin"!
  • He likes it when you rub his head and tickle his underarm.
  • I love her expression. "O, look at the spotlights. Why can't I be out at a movie premiere instead of stuck in this dank apartment grooming my shell-shocked boyfriend? I should've married that Bill Rivers when I had the chance."
  • I also love the way she is lit. Gives the painting the feeling of a religious tableau — from one of the sillier Bible stories, perhaps.


Best things about this back cover:
  • The front cover suggested it, the back cover suggests it more strongly, and a very quick perusal of contents of the book confirms it—"less than a man" = "queer."
  • How many years had gone by since the publication of "A Farewell to Arms" and how bad were the war novels in that period?
  • Interior blurb from James Michener. Also, the Binghamton Press. So, you know ... heavy hitters.
  • "If you dislike stark realism, this book is not for you"—actual warning printed opposite title page. Heart of Starkness!
  • The Louisville Courier-Journal says "Will be compared with The Naked and the Dead"; I'm guessing the publishers left off the "... and found wanting" part.

Page 123~
"You looked like a lion," she said.
"A lion," he said dryly, humorlessly. "A sad-looking lion indeed."
"An unhappy lion," she answered, getting up from the floor and seating herself beside him, touching his cheek, saying, "I will not ask questions."

A woman who knows her lions and stays out of your business. Sexy!


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Karl said...

I initially misread the title as "The Ordeal of Private HEALTH". This gave me some rather disturbing preconceptons about the subject matter.

Random White Guy said...

You're not the only one. I also thought it said Private Health.

Other Karl said...

I see a lot of Terri Garr in "Young Frankenstein" in that girl.

jeirich said...

"Abridged"? The mind reels.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

One word jumped into my mind "PATHETIC!"

Unknown said...

After a failed career as an author, Jeb Stuart discovered oil at his mountain home in Kentucky and moved to California where he lived happily ever after.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that the publisher didn't expect people to know that Punch Magazine was The Onion of its day when including that particular blurb.

What's with the Red Cross bowling ball on the table? Or is that an olde-timey Red Cross bomb?

Phone conversation between the publisher and cover editor, elucidating the problem with people not listenting to one another:

Editor: The best cover work we've got is truly pathetic.
Publisher: Yeah, pathos, that's what we're going fo, pathos.
Editor: Not pathos, pathetic. It's the saddest piece of artwork I've seen in ages.
Publisher: Yeah, saddnes, futility. That's what we're going for.
Editor: It's futile alright. A futile attempt to display pathos. It's a fucking pathetic attempt.
Publisher: We've got it then! To the presses!

General J.E.B (Jeb) Stuart CSA said...

I took being blamed, 100%, for the Confederacy's loss at Gettysburg like a man. I was the patsy in that instance, but I took it like a man and never said a word. I fought valiantly besides those who blamed me for their mistakes, eventually taking a bullet for them and dying. I've never said a word about that.

This, however, is a very different thing. Some punk appropriated my name for this crap? What, he trying to say I was having a dalliance behind the latrines when we were getting our asses kicked? I want to know the authors real name, he must be down here already & I'll kick his ass.