Roger Angell, America's senior man of letters, returns with a collection of pieces culled from The New Yorker. Angell was a long time fiction editor and baseball columnist for the magazine. He writes gracefully about the ravages of old age, and the pleasant memories of the past which keep him going after losing his wife and daughter. Angell's mother, Katherine White, and stepfather, E.B. White, both wrote for The New Yorker. Katherine White was the magazine's first fiction editor. E.B. White was a mentor for Angell when he was budding young writer.
Of course, Angell's great passion is baseball, and he reminisces about such luminaries as Bob Feller, Jackie Robinson, Earl Weaver, Don Zimmer and Derek Jeter. He writes about his experiences attending Cactus League games in Arizona. Angell praises John Updike's Ted Williams essay, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," which inspired Angell's own sports writing career.
Literary profiles take up the bulk of This Old Man. In addition to his famous stepfather, Angell has fond memories of his relationships with Donald Barthelme, Joseph Brodsky, William Steig, and V.S. Pritchett. He writes in great detail about the evolution of the short story, the cartoon, and the humorous "casual" over the long history of The New Yorker. Angell's own casuals include a piece comparing dogs to opera characters, and Christmas poems filled with celebrity references.
In the title piece, "This Old Man," Angell writes lovingly of his late wife Carol and takes stock of a life filled with hardship, but also joy and adventure. Angell refuses to give in to regret in this masterful anthology.