Picks and Pans Review: None but a Blockhead

updated 04/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Larry L. King

About 25 years ago three hotshot writers came riding north out of Texas: Dan Jenkins, Edwin Shrake and Larry King. The first two specialized in sports while King, who had worked as an assistant to a Congressman in Washington, took on the political establishment. Americans needed someone like King—rude, crude, smart and often hilarious—to explain people like their President, Lyndon Johnson, who was rude, crude, smart and often hilarious. This King, who eventually hit it big with the Broadway musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, practiced his freewheeling journalism in magazine articles (mostly for editor Willie Morris at Harper's) that became books. How King, with no college training at all, became a hot-shot free-lancer and published a novel is explained in this autobiography, which he claims is for young people who might be considering a similiar career. Good luck, kids: To follow in King's footsteps, a young person would have to drink to excess and suffer horribly at the hands of Nelson Rockefeller, rogues, fools and the cancer that takes his second wife. King is a born storyteller. His best lines can't be quoted here because they include a heavy load of four-letter words, but his brand of humor depends on outrageous generalizations, and the truth is often lost in the strain to get laughs. This is really a book for insiders in the publishing business. If you must know all about how ace literary agent Sterling Lord operates, then by all means grab None but a Blockhead. Some readers will suspect, however, that King's real purpose is to get even with critics, reviewers, editors, former friends, Hollywood deal-makers and people who wrote hostile letters to him when he bad-mouthed them in print. (Viking, $17.95)

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