Alice James: A Biography by Jean Strouse

By Jean Strouse

Preface by means of Colm Tóibín.

The Jameses are probably the main remarkable and  extraordinary kinfolk in American highbrow existence. Henry’s novels, celebrated as one of the best within the language, and William’s groundbreaking philosophical and mental works have gained those brothers an enduring position on the heart of the nation’s cultural firmament. much less renowned is their enigmatic more youthful sister, Alice. yet as Jean Strouse’s beneficiant, probing, and deeply sympathetic biography exhibits, Alice James used to be a desirable and unprecedented determine in her personal correct. Tormented all through her brief lifestyles by means of an array of frightened issues, limited through social conference and inner clash from attaining the worldly luck she wanted, Alice was once still a bright, witty author, an acute social observer, and as alert, inquiring, and interesting somebody as her recognized brothers. “The ethical and philosophical questions that Henry wrote up as fiction and William as science,” writes Strouse, “Alice easily lived.”

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So we stopped and we saw this faucet on the outside of the service station. ’ And we went to turn that thing on and the white dude that owned the station said, ‘Hey, boy, take your mouth off o’ there,’ and he wouldn’t let us get any water! And to give you an idea, some of the places that you would least expect it, I’ll never forget when I was on the road with Dinah, we came into Indianapolis early in the morning and the restaurant there wouldn’t serve us and they wouldn’t even sell our road manager, Nat Margo, who was white, anything to bring out to us!

They were coming in late. Now we had played in special events at Club Bali and we had uniforms, we didn’t drink, and we were always on time. At that time Local 17 had a business agent that would come by and check on your union card and stuff like that. Mr. Barns had had all of us join the union, and he was a member of the same lodge as the president of the union. ’ He said that all of Al Dunn’s band, their dues was behind. ‘Okay, this is what we gonna do,’ he said. ‘You have your band settin’ outside tonight.

I can remember, Woody Herman came to the Capital Theater. That was when he had Gene Ammons. Of course they didn’t want Gene to play because he was black. ’ So they eventually let him play. The whole band used to come up to the Caverns and they’d sit in and we’d have a jam session. Every night musicians would come in, whoever was playin’ at the Howard Theatre, and that would help me. I’d practice all day long, getting ready for the night. Of course, Ben Webster, he used to come by and bring his big ol’ Great Dane dog.

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