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Thomas Berger Biography

(1924– ), Crazy in Berlin, Reinhart in Love, Vital Parts, Reinhart's Women, Little Big Man

american reinhart cincinnati world

American novelist, born in Cincinnati, Ohio, educated at the University of Cincinnati and Columbia University. His first novel, Crazy in Berlin (1958), introduced the figure of Carlos Reinhart, who reappears in Reinhart in Love (1961), Vital Parts (1970), and Reinhart's Women (1982). Reinhart moves through the world encapsulated in the bubble of the American dream, an innocent and honest man continually assaulted by a selfish society. Berger's ironies form an extended critique not only of the contemporary world but also of its historical antecedents; as Little Big Man (1964) makes clear, the sustaining myth of the American West is actually founded on a series of lies and half-truths. Berger presents Custer as a vain psychotic, and the settling of the frontier is seen as an act of genocide which exterminated virtually every trace of a noble, democratic race. Berger's Indians practise a kind of sexual and religious tolerance which is entirely at variance with the hypocritical puritanism of their white conquerors. The book's central figure is an utterly marginalized man, unable to integrate himself fully into the Indian way of life and unwilling to associate himself with its destroyers. He nevertheless remains the voice of conscience; his distance from America reflects Berger's own detachment from his native land. Yet, despite his reputation as a black humorist, Berger remains committed to American ideals.

[back] John Berger (John Peter Berger) Biography - (1926– ), (John Peter Berger), Permanent Red: Essays in Seeing, The Success and Failure of Picasso

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