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Burnett, W.R. Listings

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1 Burnett, W.R. Good-bye, Chicago: 1928: End of an Era
New York St. Martin's Press (c.1981) 0-312-33851-1 / 9780312338510 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj painting) Carlo Basile 
[very nice copy, with just the slightest bumping to a couple of corners; jacket shows only light wear, but there are a couple of small surface flaws on the front panel]. Burnett's final novel (and his first since the 1968 paperback original "The Cool Man"). A gangster novel published the year before his death at the age of 82, it brought his career neatly full circle by returning to the topic and setting of his first book, "Little Caesar" (1929). 
Price: 15.00 USD
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2 Burnett, W.R. Iron Man
New York Lincoln MacVeagh/The Dial Press 1930 NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine 
(no dust jacket) [nice tight clean copy, gilt spine lettering rubbed (still readable), no other significant wear]. Nice copy of this early Burnett work, a novel about a mechanic who becomes a champion prizefighter. Basis for the 1931 Universal film starring Lew Ayres, Robert Armstrong and a very young Jean Harlow, directed by Tod Browning right after he did DRACULA; remade by the studio twenty years later, with Joseph Pevney directing Jeff Chandler. This book would dress up real pretty in a facsimile dust jacket, commercially available from another source. 
Price: 20.00 USD
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3 Burnett, W.R. Nobody Lives Forever
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1943 First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [solid copy, moderate edgewear, slight fraying of cloth at top of spine, spine cloth darkened, small red mark on bottom page edges]. 
Price: 45.00 USD
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4 Burnett, W.R. Nobody Lives Forever
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1943 First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Gene Allen 
[light soiling to top and bottom edges of covers, flowery gift inscription (non-authorial) on ffep, bookplate on front pastedown; jacket is trimmed roughly 1/8"-1/4" along top and bottom edges, small stain at upper right corner of rear panel]. "The adventures of a big-time swindler, who starts a carefully organized campaign to swindle a rich, unworldly widow and becomes entangled in a tragic situation impossible to foresee." Basis for the 1946 Warner Bros. film of the same name, starring John Garfield and Geraldine Fitzgerald. The film had a long gestation period: an original Burnett story by that title (although it's not clear that the plot was the same) was purchased by Warner Bros. in August 1941, and its upcoming production was announced to star Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan. According to Robin Smiley ("Firsts," January 2002), Burnett had finished the screenplay for the planned film by mid-1943, well before the book itself hit the shelves, and production was completed on the film in late 1944 by director Jean Negulesco, although "for some unknown reason" (Smiley) the studio didn't deign to release it until late 1946, purportedly after Garfield's star had ascended a bit after the success of MGM's THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. (There may be more to the delay than that, however; some deeper research is clearly called for.) 
Price: 50.00 USD
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5 Burnett, W.R. Pale Moon
London Macdonald 1957 NO First British Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Biro 
[light shelfwear to bottom edge, faint soiling to top of text block; jacket shows a little wear along top and bottom edges, tiny tears and miniscule paper loss at several corners, small internal tape repair at top of spine]. "A novel of the South-west," a sequel to Burnett's 1953 novel "Adobe Walls," set in the same town, "San Miguel." This story tells about "a new element from the East [which] is beginning to challenge the conservatism of the 'old-timers,'" and about a murder that "touches off a bitter election feud that threatens to wreck the whole community." 
Price: 30.00 USD
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6 Burnett, W.R. Romelle
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1946 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Good dj Illustrated by (dj) Barye Phillips 
[a little soiling to bottom edges of covers, prior ownership information on front pastedown, signs of erasure on ffep; jacket is worn, with various tiny/shallow chips, some paper loss surrounding top of spine, and a 1-inch piece missing from base of spine]. A second-rate chanteuse in a third-rate Hollywood dive marries a charming stranger, a refined yet moody young Southern gentleman with (it turns out) a somewhat cloudy and troublesome past. Despite the geography, though, it's not a "Hollywood novel" in any sense -- the author never penned a contribution to that genre, despite long experience as a screenwriter. He does catch something of the seedy side of the town itself in the early part of the book, but the film business is so irrelevant to the goings-on that the story might as well be taking place in Wichita. It's an odd sort of Gothic/hardboiled hybrid: apart from a few forays to upscale locales like Romanoff's or Beverly Hills, most of the narrative unfolds in a big hillside mansion in Encino. The jacket illustration is by Barye Phillips, one of the top paperback cover artists of the era and equally renowned for his movie poster art. (Baird & Greenwood 362.) 
Price: 18.00 USD
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7 Burnett, W.R. The Asphalt Jungle
New York Alfred A. Knopf 1949 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) E. McKnight Kauffer 
[ex-rental library book (American Lending Library, Inc.) with attendant markings (stamps on endpapers, remnants of formerly glued-down dust jacket flaps on both pastedowns, "LIBRARY COPY" stamped on bottom edge), but just modest shelfwear; generally a clean, solid book; the jacket is quite decent, but has two major flaws: (1) an orange-tape label across the spine, stating the rental rates, and (2) the fact that it's trimmed along the bottom edge, and is thus about 3/8" shorter than the book itself; it's also worth noting that this particular dust jacket is *not* the one whose remnants are still affixed to this book, since the jacket flaps are fully intact]. Classic novel of the urban underworld. One of Burnett's best, and the basis for the terrific 1950 film adaptation by writer/director John Huston and co-writer Ben Maddow. 
Price: 65.00 USD
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8 Burnett, W.R. The Silver Eagle
New York Lincoln MacVeagh/The Dial Press 1931 First Edition Hardcover Very Good 
(no dust jacket) [moderate shelfwear to bottom edge, front board slightly exposed at corner, a bit of surface deterioration to cloth at spine ends, light rubbing to silver spine lettering (still easily readable), ffep removed, colorful vintage bookplate on half-title page]. Burnett's fourth published novel, by far the most obscure and hard-to-find of his early books -- and a classic example of how a work by a notable and successful author (and Burnett had become notable and successful right away, with the publication of his first book, "Little Caesar," in 1929) can fade into obscurity for no other apparent reason than because nobody ever made a movie out of it. (It's the only one of Burnett's first six novels that's never been filmed.) I've seen the book referred to as a "follow-up" to "Little Caesar," but that's only true in the sense that it's also set in Chicago (and in fact on the original dust jacket it's heralded as "A Chicago Novel"). It's not even really a gangster novel, although the underworld does play a part in the narrative, which is primarily about a successful restaurant/club owner, a self-made man with ambitions to rise in the society world. But if you were a successful restaurant/club owner in Chicago in that era, you'd inevitably find yourself rubbing shoulders with the town's rougher elements, and between its somewhat low-born protagonist and some of the characters he gets involved with, there's a pretty decent quotient of hard-boiled, tough-guy talk to keep things snappy. The milieu is also evoked by the book's dedication -- "To the Wilson and Oak Gang, 1915-1918" -- although the significance of such a "gang" (if it was) has so far eluded my research. 
Price: 300.00 USD
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