Simply . . . Not (Part 1)

I was thumbing through a copy of a favorite childhood book of mine the other night, and noticed that the author’s description described him (somewhat breathlessly, I thought) as  “quite simply, one of the best-loved authors of children’s books of all time.” 

“Pretty high praise,” I thought.  “But it’s not true.”

Now . . . this is one of MY best-loved authors of children’s books we’re talking about here, and if I were in the mood I might nitpick over the phrase “of all time” (How do you objectively measure something like that anyway?), but last night I wasn’t in that kind of mood.

No . . . the “not true” part of that description for me was definitely the “quite simply” part. 

Whatever you think of the man . . . “simple” just doesn’t describe him.  This was a man who had first hand experience with war, espionage, and personal tragedy.  An inventive man best known for his children’s books, but his name is also attached to a medical cerebral shunt valve, two well known screenplays (NOT based on any of his own work), as well as an acclaimed series of  macabre adult short stories.

As near as I can tell, he was ALSO a domineering and opinionated character in his own right, and if you look you can find more than one hint of what delicately might be described as “racial insensitivity” in his makeup.

In other words . . . he was a LOT of things, but he was NOT simple.

Who was he?

I’ll tell you tomorrow.

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