The Ocean Is Closed: Journalistic Adventures and Investigations (Hardcover)
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Bradshaw was a famously charming man, and his lounge-lizard urbanity fully suffuses his prose. This new anthology is a necessary book for all men and women of letters. --Martin Amis
A collection of magazine writer Jon Bradshaw's essential writings, The Ocean is Closed rediscovers a memorable talent, and offers us a shadow reality to the established literary canon of the mid-century. With droll wit and keen intelligence, Bradshaw's cinematic prose brings the '70s to vibrant life--from the lurid pick-up scenes at hotspots like Maxwell's Plum in New York, and the Beverly Hills Hotel in L.A., to full-bodied portraits of literary figures such as W.H. Auden and Tom Stoppard; affectionate profiles of hustlers and con men such as Bobby Riggs and Minnesota Fats, to chilling reportage about street gangs in the Bronx, terrorism in Germany, and mercenary freedom fighters in India.
Jon Bradshaw, a man of tremendous personal charm, good humor and rugged beauty, was a literary concoction of his own devising: the magazine writer as world-weary traveler and man about town. Adored by British royalty, magazine editors, movie executives, and professional mercenaries, alike, Bradshaw first made a splash in London during the Swinging Sixties. Pals with the likes of Anna Wintour, Timothy Leary, Gore Vidal, and Martin Amis, his career flourished at a time when magazines were at the center of the cultural conversation, delivering stories that were talked about for weeks. For twenty years, he cut a distinct figure in this world, before his untimely death. A forgotten master of longform magazine writing, Bradshaw is ripe for rediscovery as one of the sharpest chroniclers of his age.
About the Author
Jon Wayne Bradshaw--who was known as "Bradshaw"--was born in 1937 in New York. His parents split up when he was young and Bradshaw and his younger brother, James, were sent to boarding school in Pennsylvania. As a young man, Bradshaw eschewed a college education--although he took classes here and there--for life on the road and then apprenticeships as a young reporter in newspapers, like the New York Herald Tribune. Bradshaw moved to England in 1963, his home base for the next dozen years. He worked first in newspapers and by the end of the decade was a freelance magazine writer and frequent contributor to Queen, an old society magazine then in the midst of a revival, as well as the features editor of British Vogue. By the end of the decade, Bradshaw was a freelancer writing about restaurants and hot spots and spaghetti westerns, profiling the likes of John Osborne, Norman Mailer, Julie Christie, and the Beatles. But his favorite pieces were the travel features that took him to Monte Carlo, Pamplona, Trinidad, Haiti, and Jamaica. The Seventies saw Bradshaw at his best. He wrote the 1975 cult favorite, Fast Company, about a gallery of gamblers and con-artists, and became a regular contributor to New York Magazine and a contributing editor at Esquire, then home to the finest magazine writing in the country. Bradshaw relocated to Los Angeles in the late '70s and married movie producer Carolyn Pfeiffer. He continued writing for magazines in the '80s but spent a lot of his time on a massive biography of torch singer Libby Holman, as well as various screenplays, including Alan Rudolph's The Moderns, which was produced as a feature film in 1988. Then, in October of 1986, Bradshaw suffered a heart attack while playing tennis one morning with friends in L.A. He died a few days later, at the age of 48, survived by his wife, Carolyn, daughter Shannon, and a legion of fond friends.