Friday, November 4, 2011
Forgotten Books: Don Herron's Dashiell Hammett Tour guide
Until I met Don Herron, I thought maybe my old copy of the 1982 Dashiell Hammett Tour guide (above, with gray cover) was a rare first edition. Well… while it is a collector’s item, with a genuine circa-1982 Herron autograph, I now know it was the second of several incarnations of the guide, and if I did have a copy of the first, I’d really have something to crow about.
That first guide book (the red one) appeared in 1979, in an edition of only 313 copies, and is now mighty ding dang hard to come by. How much is it worth? Nobody knows, because apparently nobody who has one is willing to part with it.
My 1982 edition is 95 pages with wide margins and big type, with a lot of space devoted to maps and photographs. It’s great stuff, but looks pretty lean next to the book it has evolved into. The current edition, subtitled the Thirtieth Anniversary Guidebook, is 214 pages of small type, with lots more photos, maps and info, and is infused with the insight Don has gleaned from his thirty-plus years of marching up and down the mean streets in the footsteps of old Dash.
Even if you never plan to visit San Francisco, if you’re a Hammett fan (and if you’re not, you should be), you should own this book. It offers a look at Hammett and his world that you just can’t get from a biography or critical study of his work. And through the wonders of Amazon, it can be yours for somewhere between $9.99 and $15.56. It's HERE. What are you waiting for?
Coming soon: Guidebook-like pics of my own Hammett tour and my encounter with Don Herron himself!
Forgotten Books is a weekly feature (and and extremely cool one) of pattinase.