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New Works by Rail Contributors

Theodore Hamm
Rebel and a Cause: Caryl Chessman and the Politics of the Death Penalty in Postwar California, 1948–1974
(University of California Press)

Historians of the American 1960s have begun to attend to the previously-neglected topic of “crime in the streets.” In the long run, the demand from the Right for “Law and Order!” may have done more to shape the history of subsequent decades than the better-known demands from the Left for “Freedom Now!” and “Peace in Vietnam!” In his crisply-written and subtly nuanced study Rebel and a Cause, Theodore Hamm shows how California death row inmate Caryl Chessman became the unlikely flashpoint for a series of passionate confrontations between advocates and opponents of the death penalty, as well as between the New Right, the New Left, and the liberal establishment.
—Maurice Isserman, author of America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s.

Donald Breckenridge
(Spuyten Duyvil)

The characters in 6/2/95 all represent a common theme, namely the struggle to achieve change in an apparently static and at times hostile environment. The nonlinear style of the novel juxtaposes the actions of different characters and at a certain point in time brings together the different narratives in a very concrete manner. Although at first the style may appear disjointed, the reader soon grows accustomed to it and realizes that it reflects the very manner in which an individual perceives and experiences events in the course of the day.
—D.B. (11/01)

Andy Friedman
Drawings & Other Failures
(City Salvage Records)

The first publication by City Salvage Records, Drawings & Other Failures, Friedman says, is a book about “good women, bad sunsets, and me.” It is comprised of seventeen works by the artist—pencil drawings, Polaroid photos, and a thirty-page poem. The individual works “come together in the book to form its own expression,” Friedman explains, “like songs on an album. But you don’t listen to this record, you look at it.”

Noam Mor
Arc: Cleavage of Ghosts
(Spuyten Duyvil)

In Noam Mor’s Arc: Cleavage of Ghosts, the “full name” is Adam Kadman, Blake’s Human Form Divine, God as Primal Man and Cosmic Body. Mor’s “textual mark,” bearing the traces of kabbalism and gnosticism, of Kafka and Beckett, indeed rises out of the dark of the modern city in all its violence, depravity, corruption, and longing for redemption. Here, in a work part-poetry, part-hallucinatory prose, the divine emanations argue, make love and play poker amongst themselves for the highest stakes.
—Norman Finkelstein, author of The Utopian Moment in Contemporary American Poetry.


Maurice Isserman

D. B.

Norman Finkelstein


The Brooklyn Rail

JAN-FEB 2002

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