One response to “The Magic of Youth (An Affair With Beauty: The Mystique of Howard Chandler Christy Book 1) by James Philip Head

  1. Thank you, Tony, for your wonderful and insightful review. I agree with you that the first part of the book contains “compliments” and “flattery” as it should. This is precisely how American newspapers and Christy’s adoring wife Nancy, viewed the artist at the time of his death in 1952. To them, he was a god. Understandably, Christy had befriended and painted U.S. presidents from Teddy Roosevelt through Truman, along with senators, congressmen, movie stars, industrialists, princes, and living legends (Amelia Earhart, Babe Ruth, Douglas McArthur to name a few). However, readers will find that, as they read the trilogy, this artist has quite a few flaws and many trials and tribulations. Christy grew up in poverty, ran out of money as an art student and had to return home, nearly lost his life three times during the Spanish-American War, lost his eyesight and regained it, suffered from alcoholism, was committed to an insane asylum, almost died from a bout with pneumonia, went through a bitter child custody battle (the largest, most highly publicized child custody case in America), and struggled to obtain the commission to paint the largest painting on canvas in the U.S. Capitol. Now that’s a story!! And that is why this is a trilogy and not a single book. The major conflict comes in books #2 and #3 where the artist is deconstructed.

    As for the comment that the story “falls short as a read for the general public,” this comment has certainly not proven to be the case over the past several weeks since it’s release. An Affair with Beauty has sold hundreds of copies just in the past three months. The book tour has taken us from Ohio (three signings) to New York (two signings) and Washington, D.C. (three signings). There has also been a lot of discussions about an upcoming documentary and a major motion picture. You see, this is not a book about an artist and his art, but about the changing of America during the first half of the 20th century by a man who influenced it and captured it. It’s a rags-to-riches epic of an ordinary man (because that is how Christy perceived of himself), who is living in remarkable times and possessing an extraordinary talent — the power to seize beauty and immortalize youth. His iconic images are still locked in the American subconcious, only his epic story has yet to be told . . . until now.

    I also agree with you that Pamela Almand’s narration is fantastic. She channels the voice of Nancy Palmer Christy, a former Cosmopolitan model who was once considered one of the most beautiful women in America during the 1910s until the 1930s. She brings the whole story to life as no other woman can.

    Thanks again for your review. By the way, have you ever seen Downton Abbey?

Leave a Reply