Harvey Swados died in 1972 at age 52. His short stories, novels and political commentary--the 14 books that became his life's work--combine to make him a writer of unusual versatility. Although he was devoutly committed to leftist politics, the short stories that grew out of his reflections on social reality are deeply fictional stories--never propagandistic, or even polemical.
Swados has a tender heart. His realistic stories are old-fashioned in the very best sense. They stick unfashionably to the reader's ribs.
"Nights in the Gardens of Brooklyn" is that rarest sort of book--the necessary one. Here we have a definitive edition--the collected stories of a gifted and distinctly American writer. These are romantic stories about the hopes of young men and the ways in which these hopes are dashed by the limits of the possible. Swados' people are soldiers and lovers, runaway fathers, failed artists, innocents at home and abroad.
The loving introduction by his son Robin provides the reader with a moving picture of the man behind the pen. By the end of the book, we share the son's mourning, not only for a man, but also for a writer who died too soon.