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The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald
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The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Although John D. MacDonald published seventy novels and more than five hundred short stories in his lifetime, he is remembered best for his Travis McGee series. He introduced McGee in 1964 with The Deep Blue Goodbye. With Travis McGee, MacDonald changed the pattern of the hardboiled private detectives who preceeded him. McGee has a social conscience, holds thoughtful conve ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 12th 2000 by Minotaur Books
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A thorough and entertaining biography that should be a must-read for JDM fans. Little critical insight, and it felt a little like a graduate thesis (the writing is not strong), but the book provides some wonderful background on the life of one of the great "mystery" writers of the 20th Century (including his vexed relationship with Hollywood and his evolving views on social issues) who also happened to be a great writer full stop.
Hadn't expected to blaze through this in an afternoon but it was compelling. Because MacDonald's writing career began in the pulp magazines - when starting out he wrote 800,000 words in the first four months and received over 1,000 rejections! - and continued until is death in the mid-1980s, there is a fair amount of history about the publishing industry as we follow his writing trajectory. There is some interesting back story on many of his novels - he was one to put his personal concerns into ...more
Cap'n Bobby
Who knew that I liked biographies? I certainly didn't till I read this book. I loved it. I actually felt sad when the story was over because I wanted to keep reading. "The Red Hot Typewriter" is my all-time favorite biography.

I like John D. MacDonald, a prolific writer and composer of the Travis McGee series. John D. Is the great Florida crime writer, an artist who inspired other Florida greats such as Carl Hiaasen and James W. Hall. If you're interested in the history of Florida crime writing,
This was a biography of MacDonald, a prolific writer who created the character, Travis McGee (the subject of many novels in the Spenser variety). McGee lives on a houseboat in the Fort Lauderdale area, but he travels around solving crimes. He likes women, but he's not a womanizer. He also wants to right the wrongs of the world in the Sir Galahad manner of Spenser. MacDonald grew up in NY but lived for a year in Cuernovaca, Mexico (where I've spent most of my Mexican time), and lived many years i ...more
Tom Britz
The biography of John D. MacDonald was well written. My only drawback was that I was left with not much feel for John D., the man. I know what he did,in his life, just not the why. This may have been because John D. was very jealous of his privacy. John D. MacDonald was a prolific writer of detective/suspense novels in the 0's through the 80's. He influenced writers as varied as Stephen King and Carl Hiaasen.
Hen House
The story is told in incredible detail and takes you through MacDonald's entire career. He had a troubled relationship with Hollywood and was unable to let go of his scripts and have films based on them. He seemed to miss the point that movies were not verbatim recreations of novels; they are stories based on the original work. All in all a good read, and I'd recommend it to those interested in the genre.
Eye opening history of John D. MacDonald. There were quite a few surprises. John D. definitely had strong opinions on a lot of subjects and he was not afraid of confrontation.
Keith Raffel
Fun to read a bio of John D. MacDonald, the author of the Travis McGee books. Lots of letters quoted which is great, but not much depth, no photos.
Nancy L.
Sep 29, 2007 Nancy L. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Travis McGee lovers
MacDonald comes across almost exactly as I'd imagined him. I wouldn't have wanted to know him, but I do enjoy the Travis McGee series.
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