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Connoisseurs of C-SPAN's Booknotes are familiar with one of the great, and unusual, questions that host Brian Lamb uses : How did so-and-so come to write this cover blurb for the dust jacket of your book ?  The genius of this question is that it calls attention to--though, typical of Brian Lamb, he doesn't dwell on it--one of the real scams of the book industry, the fact that the folks who are blurbed frequently have some previous relationship with the author.  Someone, it may have been The New Republic, actually used to have a terrific feature where they untangled these relationships.  My favorite recurring motif is where the Author's Acknowledgment thanks a person who, we suddenly realize, has not so coincidentally provided an encomium for the cover.  Harder to track down, but equally amusing, are the mutual blurbs, where authors' words of praise appear on each other's books.

Now, I'd read Geoffrey Norman's Morgan Hunt series several years ago in paperback, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But had I not, what right-thinking man could resist the blandishments on the back of this hardcover that I found; the authors quoted are : James Hall and Loren D. Estleman, an outstanding thriller writer and the best private eye novelist of his generation respectively; P.J. O'Rourke, one of the funniest political writers going; and not just one but both Buckleys, Christopher and William F., Jr..  I mean, c'mon, even once you realize that Geoffrey Norman is a contributor to National Review (founded by WFB) and Forbes FYI (edited by Christopher) and has written for The American Spectator (once home to PJ), you just aren't likely to ignore that collection of famous fans.

As I said, the books are outstanding irrespective of who endorses them.  Morgan Hunt is a former Green Beret and an ex-convict, having killed the man who was physically abusing his sister.  He lives in the Florida Panhandle, and the natural world is an integral part of the stories.  He's tough but likable, and though he's got a streak of machismo and a fearsome moral code, it's not as if Norman is trying to brainwash unsuspecting readers with conservative dogma.

Blue Chipper might even surprise some folks, who tend to pigeon hole conservatives.  The story centers around the exploitation of poor black athletes, in this case a basketball phenom, by scholastic athletic programs and coaches.  Norman lives on the Florida Gulf Coast for part of the year, his column for National Review is on sports, and he writes about hunting and the outdoors for Sports Afield.  This entry in the series gives him the chance to flex all his muscles, which he does to good effect.

Of course, the other half of the year he spends in the People's Republic of Vermont and you should really be sure to track down his columns on the increasingly frightening politics of the Green Mountain State (see below).  They are a hoot.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Geoffrey Norman Links:
Where Do 31 Elephants Sleep?: At a retirement home in Florida. (GEOFFREY NORMAN, April 19, 2006, Opinion Journal)

Book-related and General Links:
    -CURRENT COLUMN : Geoffrey Norman (National Review, Sports Columnist)
    -EDITOR-AT-LARGE : Geoffrey Norman (Forbes FYI)
    -CONTRIBUTOR : Sports Afield
    -EXCERPT : First Chapter of Two For the Summit My Daughter, the Mountains, and Me. By Geoffrey Norman
    -ESSAY : The New Vermont: Give It to Canada! : The sad decline of the Green Mountain state. (Geoffrey Norman, June 26, 2000, Weekly Standard)
    -RESPONSE : WHO LOST VERMONT? (Marty Jezer, Brattleboro Reformer (Brattleboro, VT) 7/21/00)
    -ESSAY : Vermont's Class Act  : The Green Mountain State is looking pink these days, thanks to Act 60, which robs towns of their autonomy and parents of the power to fund their children's education. The results include poisoned relations among social classes, a regime of mediocrity for all in its schools-- and a budding tax rebellion. (Geoffrey Norman, August 1998 , American Spectator)
    -ESSAY : Crashing VMI's Line : Progressive forces would stop at nothing to see that single-sex education -- for men -- came to an end at the Virginia Military Institute. Of course what they really want is to destroy the fabled school altogether. (Geoffrey Norman, December 1996, American Spectator)
    -ESSAY : Young, Foolish and Filled With Self-Esteem (Geoffrey Norman, October 20, 1999, Wall Street Journal)
    -TRIBUTE : Stand On It :  Goodbye to Dale Earnhardt.  (Geoffrey Norman, February 20, 2001, National Review)
    -TRIBUTE : He was a mean sumbitch, but he was our sumbitch (Geoffrey Norman,
    -ESSAY : The Bonds of Affection : Say Hey Barry chases 70. Should we care? (Geoffrey Norman, August 18-19, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : Death in Venison : There's a Bambi crisis in America. White-tail deer are more numerous than ever before -- so abundant, in fact, that they've become a suburban nuisance and a health hazard. Why can't the herd be thinned the old-fashioned way? (Geoffrey Norman, February 1997, American Spectator)
    -ESSAY : Pilgrimage to the Panhandle  (Geoffrey Norman, TL Golf)
    -ESSAY : Pedal On : When the rubber meets the road, two wheels are better than four - and you don't even need a learner's permit (Geoffrey Norman, Summer 1998, Outside)
    -ESSAY : As Good As It Gets : The dookies and the heels.  (Geoffrey Norman,  February 3-4, 2001, National Review)
    -ESSAY : A Question of Command :  When the troops are equal, go with the better general. (Geoffrey Norman, National Review)
    -ESSAY : Glade Runner (Geoffrey Norman, Forbes FYI, 10.30.99)
    -ESSAY : Businessman's Holiday Guide (Geoffrey Norman, Forbes FYI, 10.30.99)
    -ESSAY : Next Stop, Bozeman (Geoffrey Norman, Forbes FYI, 09.06.99)
    -ESSAY : Shotgun Safari (Geoffrey Norman, Forbes FYI)
    -ESSAY : Bearing Straight (Geoffrey Norman, Forbes FYI, 05.04.98)
    -ESSAY : Pardon Me, Old Man. Got Anything For A Puff Adder Bite? (Geoffrey Norman, Forbes FYI, 03.09.98)
    -ESSAY : Ducking The Issue (Geoffrey Norman , Forbes FYI, 09.22.97)
    -ESSAY : Northern Flights (Geoffrey Norman , Forbes FYI, 05.05.97)
    -ESSAY : Turkey Dressing : Clothing and gear for the ultimate in hide and seek (Geoffrey Norman, Sports Afield)
    -REVIEW : of Faith of My Fathers, by John McCain, with Mark Salter  (Geoffrey Norman, National Review)
    -REVIEW : of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss (Geoffrey Norman, American Spectator)
    -REVIEW : of LONG DISTANCE A Year of Living Strenuously. By Bill McKibben (Geoffrey Norman, NY times Book Review)
    -ESSAY EXCERPT : from The Normans' Conquest (Geoffrey Norman, National Geographic Adventure)
    -LINKS : Yahoo! Internet Life : Hiking and Camping (edited by Geoffrey Norman)
    -ARCHIVES : geoffrey norman (Mag Portal)
    -ARCHIVES : geoffrey norman (Find Articles)
    -Morgan Hunt Created by Geoffrey Norman (Thrilling Detective)
    -ESSAY : Geoffrey Norman's Morgan Hunt (Rick Murphy, Travis McGee - Other Authors of Interest)
    -REVIEW : of Sweet Water Ranch (1991) (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of ALABAMA SHOWDOWN The Football Rivalry Between Auburn and Alabama. By Geoffrey Norman (1986) (Allen Barra, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of BOUNCING BACK : How a Heroic Band of POWs Survived Vietnam.  By Geoffrey Norman (1990) (Harry G. Summers Jr., NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of A SPORTSMAN'S LIFE : How I Built Orvis by Mixing Business and Sport   By Leigh Perkins  With Geoffrey Norman (1999) (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of A Sportsman's Life ( LLOYD ARMOUR, Book Page)
    -REVIEW : of Two For the Summit My Daughter, the Mountains, and Me. By Geoffrey Norman (2000) (James Gorman, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Two for the Summit (Melanie A. Lasoff, CNN)
    -AWARD : Edgar Award for Best Short Story : 1980  "Armed and Dangerous" by Geoffrey Norman (ESQUIRE,   3/79)

    -ESSAY : Cut the Flap : From the deadly to the dopey, why does the promotional copy on book covers have to be so lame and misleading? (Charles Taylor, Salon)