I fondly remember the National Public Radio's of the 1980s, especially "All Things Considered," because it kept me awake on so many long automobile trips in the wilds of Maryland, Pennsylvania and upstate New York. I must have bought this book after hearing a commentary on the show from Ian Shoales, a member of Duck's Breath Mystery Theater. I'm not entirely sure that it was clear to me at first that he was the fictional creation of Merle Kessler. After a blast of cynical commentary, his trademark sign-off was "I gotta go."  In later years, Kessler has written articles, performed on KQED radio, local theater on the West Coast, kept a blog, and even done some recent podcasting. I can't say that this Reagan-Cold War-era book has aged all that well. So much in our culture, world and society was about to change. A lot of the references seem stale or frozen in time. What might have seemed edgy then has been rendered mild in this age of "The Daily Show," Sean Hannity and The Onion. It is a window on a forgotten era.

This Old Book started as a Tumblr, which is also archived on These are books that have survived many purges from my shelves over decades, with a few comments about why I have held onto them.

AuthorPatrick LaForge
CategoriesThis Old Book