Picks and Pans Review: Writers in America

updated 07/04/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Budd Schulberg

When he was at Dartmouth in the mid-'30s, Schulberg drove to Vermont to interview Sinclair Lewis for the college newspaper. He and Lewis became drinking buddies. Later, as a Hollywood screenwriter, Schulberg returned to Dartmouth with a sodden F. Scott Fitzgerald to write a script for the movie Winter Carnival. Schulberg turned that trip into a novel, The Disenchanted. William Saroyan and Nathanael West hung out at an L.A. bookstore Schulberg frequented; Thomas Heggen, the young naval officer who wrote Mister Roberts, sought him out socially. Drawing on these and other contacts, Schulberg develop a theory about success and its deleterious effect on American writers. But none of it holds up. This is too disparate a group, and his book is gossipy, immodest and overwritten. (Stein and Day, $16.95)

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