$900 in Printed Books, Moscow and Other Letters to the Editor


To the editor:

Robert Gottlieb’s gripping essay on John Gunther (July 4) and his epic writings about people, nations and continents are captivating. But it’s discouraging that I can’t buy Gunther’s “Inside USA” (because it’s out of print) for less than the cost of a used Buick.

As if Gottlieb was praising the delicious meat of a dodo bird. As he quite rightly pleaded – American publishers, resurrect Gunther’s work!

Brian Perera
Upper Arlington, Ohio

To the editor:

Robert Gottlieb’s great article on John Gunther’s “Inside USA” made my day. As Gottlieb points out in his article, the book is currently out of print. I find this very unfortunate, and I strongly support the request of an American publisher to “make it reappear”.

I found a copy for sale on Amazon, but it was around $900 and a little too expensive for me as I recently retired. Although it costs $1 per page, maybe it’s a bargain.

Iraq Summary
Clark, N.J.

To the editor:

Thank you so much for Gottlieb’s post about Gunther, which gave us all an exciting Fourth of July. Gunther was dynamite and Gottlieb was right about the “eagle eye”. In the “Inside USA” edition in my family’s library, there were two last-minute footnotes on newly elected politicians who were likely to go somewhere: John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.

David Lebedoff

To the editor:

I fully share Gottlieb’s enthusiasm for Gunther’s Inside USA, which I have read and reread many times since I discovered it in my family’s bookshelves more than half a century ago.

However, I disagree that Gunther’s “Inside Europe” (in its various pre-war editions) “helped warn the world… of the realities of Stalinism”.

On the contrary, Gunther described Stalin’s new Soviet Constitution as “a vitally important document … which provided for the establishment of a bicameral parliament much like that of Western democracies” and “protection of the rights of the citizens”.

As for the purge show trials, Gunther denied that they were a “massive conspiracy”, writing that “no fair-minded person can read the report in full … and yet believe that the confessions could have been fabricated.”

Clearly, for Gunther Moscow, Idaho, Moscow was a more reliable guide than the USSR.

Henry D. Fetter
Los Angeles

To the editor:

John Gunther’s article on “Inside USA” spoke of Lloyd Gaines, who had sued for admission to the all-white University of Missouri law school and won when the Supreme Court ruled that the university should establish a separate law school just for him.

They left but never joined because after three months it completely disappeared. There are many theories, but no trace of him since 1939. Maybe it’s time for a research book?

Judy Baldwin
Springfield, Va.

To the editor:

Thanks to Robert Gottlieb for the informative article on “Inside the USA” by John Gunther. The 1947 book was so popular that it inspired a successful Broadway revue starring Beatrice Lillie and Jack Haley, which opened in 1948 and had 399 performances.

The team of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz provided songs that included one of the funniest songs ever written, “Rhode Island Is Famous for You,” and the beautiful ballad “Haunted Heart.”

The book may be out of print, but the original cast recordings are still in circulation for you to enjoy.

Louis Harrison
Austin, Texas


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