Reviews By Prominent Authors & Critics

"The character of Gordon Bancroft is drawn with such care and understanding that one must know he is genuine, like Quentin in Absalom! Absalom! or Holden in Catcher in the Rye. Unlike them, Gordon has little innocence... but he does have a brutal honesty in his self-portraiture that those of us who have sought to preserve some illusions about our own childhoods may find threatening...

If Gordon is tortured by self-loathing and fear, it is because he sees himself as different from the elite by whom he is surrounded... If there is something perverse in his character, there is something courageous and hopeful in it as well. Putnam stomps a jackboot on the toes of complacency with this novel, and for the gesture and its efficacy he will doubtless be recognized.”

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— Andrew B. Preslar In the Review of Texas Books
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Good Men

By Jeff Putnam

In this, the first of four books about Gordon Bancroft, the American artist and misfit is depicted during his fall term at Phillips Academy Andover at the beginning of the sixties.

Bancroft’s thought processes display none of the charming clumsiness that alumni like to remember about their schooldays. The good men of the title are schoolboys who pride themselves on their lack of human feeling. Their parents may worry about their grades; these young men are mostly preoccupied with their social standing in the school. To have the admiration of their classmates they will quickly sacrifice the good opinion of the rest of mankind.

When Gordon finally frees himself from the need to impress the people who have been pressuring him to succeed and seeks to win the affection of Janet McBride, a slightly older “townie” with European experience, his grades improve along with his attitude. Still, emotional release is not enough to keep the various pressures he is under from mounting.

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Other Novels By This Author

  
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About the author

Born in New York and educated mostly in New England and California, Jeff Putnam traveled extensively throughout his life, working professionally as a singer, with periods of settlement in France and Spain. In Europe he sang in opera houses and was successful busking in cafes and on the streets. After a trip to Dallas, Texas, to be with two children of his second wife he met Jane Howle, also a writer, and married her. Ms. Howle saw promise in four books (among many) that Putnam had written about his life, and published them under a new imprint called Baskerville Publishers (after a family name) which went on to publish more than fifty books by promising or neglected authors like her new husband. Putnam worked for her as editor-in-chief under a different name (Samuel Chase) throughout the 90s. Health issues forced the sale of Baskerville to a Fort Worth businessman but when Putnam recovered he continued to run it from 2000 to 2004, and then began publishing with his own imprint (Avenue Publishers). From 2003 the couple have dwelt off and on in Canada, where Putnam has sung with Opera New Brunswick and given concerts in New Brunswick and Maine (in 2003 he was Colline in a production of La Bohème by Maine Grand Opera; in 2007 he had a part in an Opera New Brunswick performance of La Traviata). He and his wife now reside in Dallas close by their son Samuel and Christian, a son by another marriage. Putnam has daughters in Florida and Belgium. His Belgian daughter, Justine, ran a restaurant for some years in Antwerp and now runs a company that translates and edits books for Belgian authors. Jeff and Jane are now contemplating retirement in West Texas after Jane has built her dream house there of hemp-lime construction (see Abner DDAY).