In 1998, Ron Rosenbaum published Explaining Hitler, a national bestseller and one of the most acclaimed books of the year, hailed by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times as "lucid and exciting . . . a provocative work of cultural history that is as compelling as it is thoughtful, as readable as it is smart." Time called it "brilliant . . . restlessly probing, deeply intelligent."
The acclaim came as no surprise to those who have been reading Ron Rosenbaum’s journalism, published widely in America’s best magazines for three decades. The man known to readers of his New York Observer column as "The Edgy Enthusiast" has distinguished himself as a writer with extraordinary range, an ability to tell stories that are frequently philosophical, comical, and suspenseful all at once.
In this classic collection of three decades of groundbreaking nonfiction, Rosenbaum takes readers on a wildly original tour of the American landscape, deep into "the secret parts" of the great mysteries, controversies, and enigmas of our time.
These are intellectual adventure stories that reveal:
¸ The occult rituals of Skull and Bones, the legendary Yale secret society that has produced spies, presidents, and wanna-bes, including George Bush and his son George W. (that’s the author, with skull, on the cover, in front of the Skull and Bones crypt)
¸ The Secrets of the Little Blue Box, the classic story of the birth of hacker culture
¸ The Curse of the Dead Sea Scrolls; "The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal"; the underground realms of "unorthodox" cancer-cure clinics in Mexico; the mind of Kim Philby, "the spy of the century"; the unsolved murder of JFK’s mistress; and the mysteries of "Long Island, Babylon" ¸ Sharp, funny (sometimes hilarious) cultural critiques that range from Elvis to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Bill Gates to Oliver Stone, Thomas Pynchon to Mr. Whipple, J. D. Salinger to the Zagat Guide, Helen Vendler to Isaac Bashevis Singer ¸ And a marriage proposal to Rosanne Cash
Forcefully reported, brilliantly opinionated, and elegantly phrased, The Secret Parts of Fortune will endure as a vital record of American culture from 1970 to the present.
Ron Rosenbaum studied literature at Yale, and briefly at Yale Graduate School, before leaving to write. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Observer, and Slate, among other… More about Ron Rosenbaum
"Ron Rosenbaum is one of the great masters of the metaphysical detective story, a nonfiction writer in the spirit of Borges, Nabokov, and Poe." —Errol Morris, from the Foreword
"One of the most original journalists and writers of our time." —David Remnick
"Ron Rosenbaum combines the skills of a terrific investigative reporter and an accomplished literary stylist with an idiosyncratic streak all his own." —Philip Lopate
"Rosenbaum is a rare triple threat: He is a first-rate thinker, a fine reporter, and a superb writer." —Gary Kamiya, Salon
"I plan on hanging Ron Rosenbaum’s ‘marriage proposal’ [column] in a prominent place. Should my husband begin to take me for granted, he will be reminded that I am not without options." —Rosanne Cash
Explaining Hitler is "an intellectual tour de force" (George Will), "a work of importance and fascination" (George Steiner).
"Ron Rosenbaum is among the most thoughtful and insightful interpreters of our fractured fin-de-siècle society. He has a wonderful eye for paradox and always manages to find the significant detail and to suggest the most intriguing conclusion. He pursues the elusive and the complicated with great clarity." —Robert Stone
"You made me look like a f——g lunatic." —Oliver Stone