A Brave Best-Selling Writer Gets Me, He Really Gets Me

Posted: April 24th, 2008 | Filed under: You Will Die | Comments Off on A Brave Best-Selling Writer Gets Me, He Really Gets Me

In the late 1950s and early 1960s when both sex and race were fiercely off-limits Robert Gover courageously breached both topics. He wrote a novel, One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding (1962), about a black prostitute and a rich white college boy. It was initially rejected by American publishers. Only after being successfully issued in Europe was it published in the States. The book then climbed to third on the New York Times best-seller list even though the newspaper refused to accept advertisements for it due to its controversial nature.

Gover’s work has not only enjoyed commercial success, but it has also earned the praise of such luminaries as Gore Vidale, Joseph Heller, and Bob Dylan. Another legend, Gover’s friend, Jim Morrison, wanted to direct and star in a movie adaption of Gover’s book, The Maniac Responsible (1963). Now in his late seventies Gover continues to eschew the commercial, the popular, and the mainstream by maintaining his own nuts-and-bolts website and writing about astrology.

I knew nothing about this man until he contacted me and offered to write a review of my book, You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos. His wonderful review has recently been published in the literary magazine, Perigee. Although Gover writes that, “no major American publisher would touch [You Will Die] with a ten-foot pole,” he adds that, “given a decent promotional campaign, this book has what it takes to top the New York Times bestseller list for months.”

In favorably comparing my book to the amazing Alan Watts book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966), Gover writes:

The main difference between the approaches of Watts and Arthur is that Watts aims at self-enlightenment while Arthur aims at societal enlightenment. This difference reflects the different tempers of these different times, the 1960s and the first decade of the 21st Century.

I am honored.


  1. Robert Gover, “On The Way to a Fortunate Misunderstanding,” 2005. LINK
  2. Robert Gover, “You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos [review],” Perigee, Apr.-Jul. 2008. LINK
  3. Thomas Kennedy, “A Conversation with Robert Gover,” Perigee, Aug.-Oct. 2007. LINK

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