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Budd Schulberg Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Company house (1935)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Makes Sammy Run? (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Harder They Fall (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Disenchanted (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
On the Waterfront (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sanctuary V (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everything That Moves (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Swan Watch (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Golden Book on Writing (By: David Lambuth) (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Four Seasons Of Success (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Loser & Still Champion: Muhammad Ali (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sparring with Hemingway: And Other Legends of the Fight Game (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
When Boxing Was a Jewish Sport (With: Allen Bodner) (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ringside: A Treasury of Boxing Reportage (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Some Faces in the Crowd (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Love, Action, Laughter (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

A Face in the Crowd: A Play for the Screen (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
Across the Everglades: A Play for the Screen (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
On the Waterfront: The Play (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Poetry Books

From the Ashes: Voices of Watts (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Writing in America(1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
A World of Fiction(1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing Los Angeles(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Budd Schulberg was an American author, screenwriter, a sports writer, and a TV producer. He is famously known for his books The Harder They Fall and What Makes Sammy Run? He is also known for his Award-winning screenplay, On the Waterfront, and A Face in the Crowd.

Published in 1941, What Makes Sammy Run? is a novel inspired by the life of Budd Schulberg’s father, early Hollywood mogul B. P. Schulberg. The story portrays a rags-to-riches narrative, chronicling the ascent and downfall of Sammy Glick, a Jewish young man born and raised in New York’s Lower East Side. From a very young age, Sammy is determined to leave the ghetto and ascend the ladder of success through deceit and betrayal. The book was adapted into a 1965 Broadway musical.

Schulberg’s book stands out from typical “Hollywood” stories. By the time of the book’s publication, he had penned the short stories that preceded the book and published them in various magazines. He had already written two major motion pictures, one of which, “On the Waterfront,” would be celebrated as one of the greatest films in history.
Schulberg had a deep connection to Hollywood, both by birth and upbringing. Therefore, the book’s content was believed to be rooted in real-life experiences. In addition to pondering the book’s title question, many readers often debated, “Who was the real Sammy Glick”?

The novel, narrated by Al Manheim, a New York newspaper theater columnist turned Hollywood screenwriter, explores Sammy’s life. Manheim is an observer, commentator, and constant inquirer regarding the question posed by the novel’s title. Sammy Glick takes center stage in the book, serving as the protagonist and antagonist. He starts as an errand boy at the newspaper but quickly advances by exploiting situations where he can appear more capable than he is.

After seizing the role of radio columnist for the paper, he’s asked to review a radio play written by a colleague. However, Sammy has other plans. He contacts a Hollywood agent and sells the radio play as a screenplay, setting him to stardom as a writer and producer. Manheim, reluctantly living in Sammy’s shadow in Hollywood, narrates the story with a mix of anger and disbelief, chronicling Sammy’s ruthless climb up the career ladder, even if it means stepping on others. The story concludes with Sammy achieving everything he ever desired yet remaining unsatisfied. During the course of the book, Manheim finds the answer to his initial question and develops strong feelings about Sammy’s life choices.

The book was written as a moralistic parable to shed light on the realities of Hollywood and as a cautionary tale to warn those with good intentions against individuals like Sammy Glick. Since Sammy Glick is portrayed as Jewish, some early readers criticized the book as an example of self-antisemitism. It’s been suggested that Sam Goldwyn offered Schulberg a substantial sum to prevent the book’s publication out of fear that it would ignite antisemitism in Hollywood and other industries.

Schulberg, too, was concerned about this misrepresentation and altered the names of several characters from non-Jewish backgrounds in his short stories to Jewish names in the book. This change aimed to emphasize that Glick’s ruthless behavior extended to everyone, regardless of their background, and that other victims from the same ethnic and religious group didn’t view this as an appropriate way to progress in the world.

Interestingly, many readers interpreted the book as a handbook, even a bible, offering guidance on advancing in life and achieving one’s dreams. Rather than a moralistic parable, it became an instruction manual for rising from rags to riches, behaving similarly to Sammy Glick in the story to navigate a world full of equally ruthless individuals.

The recurring theme in the novel, reflected in its title, is Sammy’s perpetual running. Sammy Glick is described as “running people down,” driven by an unceasing need to run with death as his only goal and an absence of principles to slow him down. Manheim realizes everyone is running, but Sammy Glick runs faster than the rest. Sammy’s running is deeply symbolic, as he literally and metaphorically runs.

At one point, Manheim speaks of Sammy’s “undeclared war against the world,” in another instance, he references Sammy Glick’s “Mein Kampf.” Manheim strives to “revive the victims left in Sammy’s wake as he climbed to the top.” For example, he intervenes on behalf of Blumberg to ensure his name appears in the credits.
In “Goldwyn: A Biography of the Man Behind the Myth,” author Arthur Marx reveals that Budd Schulberg was offered money by Samuel Goldwyn to prevent the book’s publication because he believed the author was “double-crossing the Jews” and perpetuating antisemitism through Sammy Glick’s venal character.
In his introduction to the 1990 reissue of the novel, Schulberg emphasized that since Sammy was Jewish, he intended to make it clear that nearly all of Sammy’s victims were also Jewish, showcasing the broad range of personalities and attitudes within the same ethnic group.

When Schulberg wrote the novel, he was a member of the Communist Party of the USA. Schulberg was ordered by, John Howard Lawson, a ranking member of the party to make major changes to the book for it to align with Communist goals. Schulberg refused, quit the party in protest. A decade later, Schulberg testified in the House Unamerican Activities Committee how the Communist has greatly influenced Hollywood and identified other party members.

Upon the book’s publication, there was widespread speculation that Sammy Glick’s character more of the story of TV producer Jerry Wald. The author later confirmed that Wald was one of his models but clarified that he wasn’t the only one. Writer Nick Davis, in his book “Competing with Idiots,” suggested that Sammy Glick reminded more than one Hollywood reader of Joe, his great-uncle Joseph L. Mankiewicz, as another potential model.

Overall, What Makes Sammy Run? is an outstanding, humorous, tragic, and entertaining novel that centers on a despicable main character embodying every venal Hollywood stereotype. It offers an excellent read due to its compelling prose, dialogue, and character development. While it portrays Hollywood of the 1930s, it’s still relevant today, as Hollywood continues to have its share of Sammy Glick’s.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Budd Schulberg

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