Book Report: A Man of Affairs by John D. MacDonald (1957)

As with a number of my other John D. MacDonald books, such as Judge Me Not and On The Run, I fully acknowledge the jonesing with (or jonsing, if I need to drop the silent e) that drives me to pay $2.00 each for John D. MacDonald paperbacks. I am glad, glad, you hear?

I bought this book at Downtown Books in Milwaukee (the place to go in Milwaukee for used books, werd) for $1.95. John D. MacDonald’s other works, including the Travis McGee series, get reprinted ad infinitum so their prices are cheap. All of his works are worthwhile, though, no matter the cost. Please visit my eBay listings after I make this assertion to drive up the prices….wait–I’m not selling my copies, you damn chiselers.

This particular book represents another of MacDonald’s forays into Big Business. When a junk bond/leveraged buyout king swoops into a family-run business after the patriarch dies, a self-appointed self-made man (the first person narrator) invites himself onto a Bahamas retreat where high finance and human nature collide. The narrator, Sam Glidden, wants to keep the heirs of the owner from selling the company to a corporate raider. But on the holiday in the sane where the sun and the sex are easy, can he hold to his ideals?

Crikes, this book was written almost fifty years ago. With the easy sex and the high finance, I found it easy to forget–and to follow along.

Were I less loyal to my patron saints (Parker, Frost, and Billy Joel, amen), I would find John D. MacDonald’s miracles hard to discount. Each of his books, whether ignored in individual paperbacks or apotheosized in Travis McGee omnibus editions, contains the same ambiguous characters, the same lush descriptions of big business or maritime “salvage,” and the same lush descriptions.

If you stumble across this paperback through a “friendly” loan, steal it. If you find it at a garage sale held by an underfed woman and her dozens of underfed children, buy it. If you can inadvertently purchase it from a reputable used boook store, buy it.

When I grow up, I want to be John D. MacDonald. Although, with LASIK surgery, perhaps I could avoid the heavy plastic glasses frames.

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2 thoughts on “Book Report: A Man of Affairs by John D. MacDonald (1957)

  1. I love reading about big business, though so far I’ve only red Stragiht From the Gut and Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. GE and IBM, Welch and Gerstner respectively.

    Both are highly recommended.

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