August 19 - 1968: Kurt Vonnegut gets a one-way ticket from Barnstable to fame

1812: Orleans Captain Crosby aboard the U.S.S. Constitution 1958: Summer cruise to Cape Cod
Kurt Vonnegut's "Welcome to the Monkey House" was well-received in 1968.

1968: The day our Barnstable fabulist was reviewed

And Kurt Vonnegut got a one-way ticket from Barnstable to fame

On this day in 1968, the New York Times Book Review was about the collection of short stories and recent novels which catapulted Cape Cod's worst car salesman into one of the country's  most acclaimed novelists. 

This writer well recalls the day, because it was the beginning of the end of Kurt's Cape Cod years - a time of violent protests over the  war in Vietnam, and the citizen reaction.

Just before Kurt left us for Gotham, he and I ganged up with a bunch of kindred Liberals and formed a Cape Cod organization called "Citizens for Participation in Politics" which was instrumental in unseating the Cape's Republican Congressman of that era and replacing him with anti-war Democrat Gary Studds.

Here's the start of that review of forty year odd ago:

Last summer, when The New York Times Book Review asked a pride of distinguished novelists which of their works they would most like to reread while lolling among the sand castles, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. replied, disarmingly: "I can't stand to read what I write. I make my wife do that, then ask her to keep her opinions to herself." Diogenes would have shucked his barrel for honesty such as that. Nor was the remark a momentary lapse of candor. In his preface to "Welcome to the Monkey House," a collection of 23 stories and one essay, the author of two such zestful novels as "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater," and "Cat's Cradle" again smiles and tells it straight.

"The contents of this book," he says with good-natured detachment, "are samples of work I sold in order to finance the writing of the novels. Here one finds the fruits of Free Enterprise." Well, to paraphrase Lamont Cranston, "the seeds of Free Enterprise bear bitter fruit."

Read the complete review here.
Read "Have I got a car for you" by Vonnegut which starts out "I used to be the owner and manager of an automobile dealership in West Barnstable, Massachusetts, called 'Saab Cape Cod'" here.

1812: Orleans Captain Crosby aboard the U.S.S. Constitution

On this day in 1812 aboard the U.S.S. Constitution In the famous battle between the USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere off the coast of Massachusetts, Joshua Crosby of Orleans was aboard “Old Ironsides” as a gun captain. It is said that in the face of withering return fire in a broadside duel, Crosby and his crew kept their cannon trained on the enemy ship’s mizzenmast and fired the crucial crippling shot that blasted the mast overboard, leading to the enemy’s surrender with in a half hour. This smashing sea victory early in the war did much to bolster America’s sagging morale. 

The painting USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere. Painting attributed to Thomas Birch

To read more about this local hero, see the story from the Orleans Historical Society here.
This item was sent in by Todd Brooks of Wareham.

1958: Summer Cruise to Cape Cod Is Rewarding for Any Old Salt

Cape Cod is meant for sea-goers first and landlubbers thereafter

In August of 1958, the New York Times was touting a sail through the canal to Provincetown or a cruise along Nantucket Sound to Chatham. The travel yarn began:

Other areas have ambitions for the honor but Cape Cod can prove beyond much doubt it is the pleasure boatman's perfect North Atlantic waterway vacation spot. It would be hard to swing a dock line without hitting one of what must be hundreds, if not thousands, of harbors, anchorages, bights, bays. Cape Cod is meant for seagoers first and landlubbers thereafter...

Read the rest below...

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