It probably isn’t news to most folks that we have a large collection of vintage (pre-1960s) paperbacks. They occupy a special place on our bookshelves and we occasionally feature cover art from these wonderful books.
Recently a customer from the U.S. visited our website (www.bleakhousebooks.com.hk) and bought one of the rarer titles we had in our collection: Massacre by James Warner Bellah. We asked him if he would be willing to tell his story as to how he came about this book, its author, and our bookshop.
Here’s what he had to say:
I discovered James Warner Bellah (and Bleak House Books) quite by accident. I had long been a fan of director John Ford’s western films, particularly his “Cavalry Trilogy” shot in Monument Valley from 1948 to 1950. Watching the credits of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” I noticed that one of the screenwriters had an unusual name..James Warner Bellah. As I plunged down the Google rabbit hole, I learned more about his life and writing about the Frontier West, the Civil War, his military background and his involvement with the movie industry.
But, his writing is hard to come by. His Western work mostly consisted of short stories that appeared in magazines in the 1930’s and 1940’s..magazine like Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post that are long gone. His novelizations and short story collections (there are only a few) were put out as paperbacks and are not easy to find. It was one of my periodic online searches that led me to Bleak House Books.
Despite all the security and privacy concerns we share about today’s online technology, there are some wonderful things about it. Despite my visits to used bookstores, tag sales and library book fairs, it was the web that enabled me, a reader in Connecticut, USA, to find an out-of-print paperback about the U.S. Cavalry in a book shop in Hong Kong, run by an ex-Atlantan. Pretty amazing.
We think so too!