The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody

The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody

The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody

The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody

Excerpt

When Will Cuppy died, in September, 1949, he had been working on this book, off and on, for sixteen years. During most of that time, of course, he was busy with other projects -- a weekly column of reviews of mystery books for the New York Herald Tribune, pieces for various magazines, and a series of books on birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish.

The first of these animal books, How to Tell Your Friends from the Apes, appeared in 1931 and set the pattern for the others that followed. Cuppy often complained that people kept asking him, "Don't you ever write anything but little pieces about animals?"

Here is the answer; all the time this was really the book he was most concerned about. At his death, he was well on his way toward finishing it.

As published, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody includes chapters devoted to all the famous men and women of history Cuppy wanted to include. (He had worked on all, some at least in skeleton form, before his death.) A few general chapters are missing: he planned to set down his thoughts on where he stood on Betsy Ross, and various other topics which were, for Cuppy, matters of immediate moment. In their place his pieces on the humor and eating habits of the great have been added.

Perhaps a note on how Cuppy worked would be of interest to his readers. First of all, before writing a line on any topic -- or even thinking about what he might write -- he could read every volume and article on the subject that he could find -- including . . .

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