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Book review and technical detail THE COLLECTED STORIES OF MAX BRAND ~ Max Brand

author Max Brand
ISBN 116917
Language English
Category Fiction & Literature
Publisher University of Nebraska Press
Pages 346
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

 Eighteen short stories from Frederick Faust, who wrote nearly 900 pieces of fiction--most of them pulp westerns--under the name of Max Brand (The Black Signal, 1986, etc.) and 20 other pseudonyms between 1917 and his death in 1944. Westerns are well represented here, including Faust's first, ``Above the Law'' (1918), and his best-known, ``Wine on the Desert'' (1936), both of which depict the struggle between good and evil. Faust's skill at other genres is evident in stories like the hard-boiled ``The Silent Witness'' (1938) and the urbane spy tale, ``The Secret Villa'' (1935), which introduced Secret Agent Anthony Hamilton. The first appearance of Dr. Kildare in ``Internes Can't Take Money'' (1936) is a melodramatic story in which the young doctor faces a moral dilemma. Across all genres, Faust based his characters on mythical models. The passages from youth to adulthood and from cowardice to honor involve painful ordeals in ``The Sun Stood Still'' (1934) and ``Honor Bright'' (1948). The classic need of a son to prove himself to his father is expertly portrayed in ``Virginia Creeper'' (1937) and in a stirring WW I combat story, ``Pringle's Luck'' (1940). Faust was devoted to his unreadable poetry, but the strengths of two serious prose efforts, ``The Wedding Guest'' and ``A Special Occasion,'' written for Harper's in 1934, make one wonder what heights his literary career would have reached had he devoted more attention to his prose. In the first, three men are lured by a beautiful entomologist into mirroring the mating dance of the Great Peacock moth; in the second, an alcoholic architect contemplates suicide when he realizes just how low he has sunk. An introduction by William Bloodworth (English/East Carolina Univ.) assesses Faust's place in popular American literature. Not every story is a winner, but this diverse collection proves that the King of the Pulps could spin almost any kind of tale successfully.

Max Brand's novels and stories have defined the West for thousands of readers attracted to his bright, vigorous prose. John Cawelti, Russel G. Nye, and other scholars of the Western view his work as key in the development of the genre. Between 1917 and 1944 he wrote prolifically, making Max Brand one of America's most popular writers.But Max Brand wasn't his real name, and his work extended well beyond boots and saddles. Born Frederick Schiller Faust, he realized his name would be a hindrance when World War I was raging. He took the name Max Brand and made it famous. Along the way he invented characters who became famous, too: Dr. Kildare, for instance, and secret agent Anthony Hamilton.This volume collects eighteen of the very best of Brand's short fiction, taken from different genres and different times of his life. Included are "Above the Law," "Outcast Breed," "The Sun Stood Still," and others of his greatest Western stories. Brand's versatility is shown with "Internes Can't Take Money" (the debut of Dr. Kildare), "John Ovington Returns," an early story with elements of fantasy and autobiography, and "The Strange Villa," an action-packed spy story.

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