Endlessly entertaining and meticulously compiled, Gods, Mongrels, and Demons is a delightful alternative Who’s Who.
Inspired by the author’s belief that “oddballs, headbangers, saints, nutters, philosophers, freaks and such like deserve to be drawn away from the periphery to the center” of our consciousness, Gods, Mongrels, and Demons uses the famous, the infamous, and the apparently marginal to tell us more about ourselves and our cultures than we’d find in the usual history book fare.
In what other single volume could you find such eminent figures as the Japanese poet Basho; Ruth Handler, inventor of the Barbie doll; and the modernist artist Kurt Schwitters? Where else would Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday and Ludwig Wittgenstein rub shoulders with the likes of Anansi, Ganesh, the Queen of Sheba, the King of the Gypsies, Billy the Kid, and a Top Secret carrier pigeon named Winkie? Not to mention Henri Cochet – the sublime playboy tennis star who found himself two sets and fifteen-love down in the third set of the Wimbledon men’s semifinal in 1927 and went on to win the championship.
Not merely informative but also beautifully produced, featuring original lettering by Jeff Fisher, Gods, Mongrels, and Demons is the perfect way to chase off the winter blues.