John Griswold

John Griswold is a staff writer at The Common Reader. His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (2014, University of Georgia Press). His forthcoming book about veterans at Standing Rock will be published in 2019. He is the founding Series Editor of Crux, a literary nonfiction book series at University of Georgia Press.

Posts by John Griswold

‘They Shall Not Grow Old,’ a WWI Memorial Film

The new documentary They Shall Not Grow Old played in theaters this week, in limited release in the US, for the centennial of the end of World War I. It will presumably be available soon on DVD and a streaming service. The documentary, directed by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit), […]

A Free Gift for the William Gass Completist

Wash U in St. Louis archives the papers of several important American writers, including some who taught here. The William H. Gass collection gathers drafts, manuscripts, hand-corrected proofs, recordings, photos, art, correspondence, and other items of interest connected with Gass, the fiction writer, essayist, cultural/literary critic, and professor of philosophy who taught at Wash U […]

Why Are Unions Turning Red?

The Midwestern coal-mining town I am from was probably as close to 100% unionized as it was possible to be, in the first decades of the twentieth century, from the UMWA, trade and craft unions, and sympathies of business owners, families, and friends. This typically meant voting for those with progressive (or at least pro-worker) […]

Crossing Over

Bridges are opportunity frozen in steel, a chance to pass from one side of an obstacle to the other. The Chain of Rocks Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River north of downtown St. Louis, is a truss bridge finished in 1929. For many years it was part of Route 66 but was closed to traffic […]

Get Shorty: Act 3, the Series

The producers of the Epix TV series Get Shorty, about (small) organized crime going to Hollywood for new opportunities, say it is merely “influenced by” the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. They even suggest that a security guard at the studio in the series, who waves a car onto the lot and says […]

Get Shorty: Act Two, the Movie

With the second season of the new Get Shorty TV series now available, I wanted to revisit Elmore Leonard’s 1990 novel (previous post) and the 1995 movie of the same name. What happens when a narrative spine is used to make a new animal? In the case of the Barry Sonnenfeld movie Get Shorty, the […]

Get Shorty: Act 1, The Book

Get Shorty is a TV series with two seasons in the can and rumors of a third. The first season was released by a lesser-known subscription service, Epix, in August 2016 and found its way to Netflix this year. The second season was released by Epix in August 2018 but has not been shared to […]

Babette’s Feast and the Spirit of the Holidays

French actress Stéphane Audran died this year at 85. Audran had a long career and more than 100 film and TV credits. She worked with directors Luis Buñuel, Éric Rohmer, and former husband Claude Chabrol, was in The Big Red One with Lee Marvin, and played the title character in the 1987 Danish film Babette’s […]

Buster Scruggs and the Watchful Eye of Death

The new Coen Brothers movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, was released on Netflix November 16, after a (very) limited theatrical release. The National Board of Review made it a top-10 pick for 2018, and it won an early award (for best screenplay) in Venice. The Coens are auteurs, so they make Coen movies, which […]