"You're F.B.I., Brendan," said the proprietor of McSorley's the famous old ale house in New York. So the Foreign Born Irishman, Brendan Behan, takes on his last tour of what he calls "the most exciting city in the world." His anthropological investigations cover a wide variety of places, people and things, always accompanied by ribald anecdote and rumbustious description. Whether he is buying a paper off an old lady in Harlem, swimming in the baths at the Young Men's Hebrew Association, visiting a bum on the Bowery, or having a jar with "one of his own" in an Irish saloon on Third Avenue, he has always an eye for the color of the situation and the wit to express it. Neither the serious nor the absurd are secure from his investigations, and the sacred cows fall happily. From the White Horse Tavern in Greenwich Village to Costello's on Third Avenue, from Mott Street in Chinatown to the Hotel Chelsea on Twenty-third Street, Brendan Behan traces an erratic path about the city, encountering such luminaries as Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, William O. Douglas and Leonard Lyons - telling a tale here, embroidering an anecdote there and always passing the time of day after his own inimitable fashion. The spirit of the text is brilliantly complemented by Paul Hogarth, whose drawings evoke a nostalgia for the known and not so well-known features of the "melting pot of the world," and continue the partnership which proved to be so successful in Brendan Behan's Island.
Biographies-Memoirs, Regional-US, Mid-Atlantic,