Heritage Press: The Sailor’s Reader, edited by George Macy (1943)

May 22, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Sailor’s Reader, edited by George Macy (1943)

The Sailor’s Reader: A Volume Containing Four Hundred Thousand Words of Select Literary Entertainment for the American Sailor on the Water or in the Air, edited by George Macy (1943)
No Sandglass Issued – Sold in Stores with a Dustjacket
Heritage Press Exclusive, released side-by-side with The Soldier’s Reader

Click images to enlarge views.

During World War II the Heritage Press released two books designed for the many soldiers and sailors serving the United States, The Soldier’s Reader and Sailor’s Reader.  Each had a lot of the same material in its 400,000 words, but both had their own specific bits that were tailored for that particular branch of the military.  This is not your conventional post, as there’s no pictures and the binding itself isn’t spectacular.

Binding – As you can see, nothing too fancy.

Spine – I did a little Photoshop magic to eradicate some library markings above the square border.

A dustjacket used to cover this book, but it has been lost to time.

Title Page – I wish that logo wasn’t stamped on – I’d use it as the icon for the blog.  Ah well.

So, like I said, nothing too extraordinary.  However, I thought that George Macy’s musings that litter the text would be well worth some time to photograph and document, and Macy did not slouch in these.  Most of the sections feature a brief intro from Macy explaining it and its inclusion.  Also, he would write a six page preface providing his reasoning for making the book.  This will be the end of my text – we’ll let Mr. Macy take over from here.  Enjoy!

Hit the jump for the intros…

In conclusion, Django2694 had this to say about these books:

I don’t think there was a Sandglass. The DJ for A Soldier’s Reader says: “400,000 words of literary entertainment for the fighting man: 9 full-length books, long stories & novelettes, 12 short stories, 15 essays & general features, over 250 great poems: put together with the desire to meet the soldier’s varying moods, by George Macy for the Heritage Press”.

The Soldier’s Reader is bound in OD buckram and the page edges on all sides are dyed a darker OD. As Macy says in his Introduction, this anthology is for entertaining the soldier who can read. The quality of the inclusions is rather high, and some of the material included is surprising, indeed: an excerpt from Flaubert’s Salambo, the “Torture” episode excerpted from Seven Pillars of Wisdom, The War of the Worlds, a story by Wm. Gilmore Symms (author of The Yemassee which I have been badgering LOA to reprint), poetry by everyone from Richard Lovelace to Sara Teasdale. The arrangement is marvelous: poetry is interspersed with prose, fisction with history and essays, and new cheek-to-jowl with old: the story by Simms, a contemporary of America’s first literary lion, J.F. Cooper, follows the first item in the book, the story “Sgt Limeburner,” perhaps the first appearance in book form by John Cheever.

The reader for sailors, more properly A Sailor’s Christmas Reader is bound in blue buckram and the page ends dyed navy blue. It is almost identical, but Melville’s great “Benito Cereno” has replaced the Flaubert excerpt, and certain other nautical items are unique to this volume: “The Trial of the ‘Bounty’ Mutineers,” Jack London’s “The Seed of McCoy,” and “Rendezvous,” a submarine story by US Naval officer Alec Hudson “set in the present conflict.”

Both anthologies are really wonderful, though completists will carp that some works aren’t printed in their entirety. To them I say active duty, especially in wartime, isn’t conducive to reading extended pieces of literature.

The bindings are quite nice in their simplicity, and my 68 year-old copies are still tight and straight. The offset printing is cramped, obviously, but still very clear, the wartime paper is yellowed, but still supple. A serviceman who enjoyed reading would have doubtlessly been pleased with these books.

Retail price $2.95


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