“The Kenneth Roberts Reader” & Ben Ames Williams

In a recent post regarding The Kenneth Roberts Reader, I posed the question about why Ben Ames Williams was chosen to write the introduction, and not Booth Tarkington.  Now, I realize in the grand scheme of things, the answer to this question has absolutely no bearing on anything; rather, this question is really a result of curiosity. 

I posed the question in an e-mail to Jack Bales, author of Kenneth Roberts and Kenneth Roberts: The Man and His Works, and to John at townsendbooks.com (he has a large collection of Kenneth Roberts books), below are their answers:

Jack Bales: Kenneth Roberts and Ben Ames Williams were actually close friends and often socialized together.  In fact, along with Booth Tarkington, B.A. Williams was one of Kenneth Roberts’ closest friends.  Jack Bales covers this friendship in his second book titled Kenneth Roberts.

John: Though he was somewhat unsure of the exact link, John states that it could have been a reciprocated favor, as Kenneth Roberts wrote an introduction for one of Williams’ books The Happy End (1939).

So, there you go!

 

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“The Kenneth Roberts Reader”: Ben Ames Williams Introduction

As stated in an earlier post (“The Kenneth Roberts Reader“), I wanted to find out why Ben Ames Williams was chosen to write the introduction for The Kenneth Roberts Reader.  Unfortunately, I’ve met the same fate I’ve met in finding info on Kenneth Roberts on the Web.  About the only imformative I’ve found thus far on Ben Ames Williams is this article from Answers.com.  However, Kenneth Roberts is mention only in passing (the context is that the author of this article states that B.A. Williams was one of the most popular authors of his generation along with K.R. and Hervey Allen).  It seems, so far as I can see, B. A. Williams was chosen because he was popular at the same time K.R. was popular, and probably also because Williams had tried his hand at historical fiction as well (House Divided, per Answers.com).

Hopfully more to come on this…

“The Kenneth Roberts Reader”

1945 ed. of The Reader

1945 ed. of The Reader

 I’ve recently picked up The Kenneth Roberts Reader for some light reading.  Though I have many of the books included in this reader, there are others included that I do not have.  If you are a little familiar with KR or just recently found out who he was, try finding this book in a used book store; this book is a great way to introduce you to KR’s style and his various works.  The best way, however, to become familiar with KR is just to buy his books and dive in.

Here’s a question I want to look into as a result of reading this book: Why was Ben Ames Williams chosen to write the introduction to this book?  What was his relation to KR?  Hope to find an answer soon and let you know!  In the meantime, find the book and start reading!

Kenneth Roberts – According to Ben Ames Williams

For Ken, who expects from the historian a remote impartiality, himself always has a thesis to demonstrate.  His thesis is the unrecognized truth; and he will with the most laborious research write a book to prove that on a given subject everyone who believes what everyone else believes is wrong!  It was characteristic of him that he began his career as a novelist by making the best possible case for Benedict Arnold.

Ben Ames Williams, “Introduction” in The Kenneth Roberts Reader (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc, 1945), ix.

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