Random Reading: ‘Hello Goodbye Hello’ 


A circle of 101 remarkable meetings beginning and ending with Adolf Hitler.

This book caught my eye a couple years ago back at my old library in Denver. I’d forgotten the title but came across it again today while browsing the stacks.

It’s a collection of anecdotes of chance encounters between notable people. The anecdotes are a bit humdrum but the unbroken chain of chance encounters between mid-20th and late-19th century intelligentsia, politicians and pop stars is in itself fascinating (For instance, Elvis Presley isn’t too many chance encounters removed from Rasputin; just as Helen Keller isn’t far removed from Michael Jackson) :

Adolf Hitler——> John Scott-Ellis——> Rudyard Kipling——> Mark Twain——> Helen Keller——> Martha Graham——> Madonna——> Michael Jackson——> Nancy Reagan——> Andy Warhol——> Jackie Kennedy——> Queen Elizabeth II——> The Duke of Windsor——> Elizabeth Taylor——> James Dean——> Alec Guinness——> Evelyn Waugh——> Igor Stravinsky——> Walt Disney——> P.L. Travers——> George Ivanovich Gurfjieff——> Frank Lloyd Wright——> Marilyn Monroe——> Nikita Kruschev——> George Brown——> Eli Wallach——> Frank Sinatra——> Dominick Dunne——> Phil Spector——> Leonard Cohen——> Janis Joplin——> Patti Smith——> Allen Ginsberg——> Francis Bacon——> Princess Margaret——> Kenneth Tynan——> Truman Capote——> Peggy Lee——> President Richard Nixon——> Elvis Presley——> Paul McCartney——> Noel Coward——> Prince Felix Youssoupoff——> Grigori Rasputin——> Tsar Nicholas II——> Harry Houdini——> President Theodore Roosevelt——> H.G. Wells——> Josef Stalin——> Maxim Gorky——> Leo Tolstoy——> Pyotr Il’ich Tchaikovsky——> Sergei Rachmaninoff——> Harpo Marx——> George Bernard Shaw——> Bertrand Russel——> Sarah Miles——> Terence Stamp——> Edward Heath——> Walter Sickert——> Winston Churchill——> Laurence Olivier——> J.D. Salinger——> Ernest Hemingway——> Ford Madox Ford——> Oscar Wild——> Marcel Proust——> James Joyce——> Harold Nicholson——> Cecil Beaton——> Mick Jagger——> Tom Driberg——> Christopher Hitchens——> George Galloway——> Michael Barrymore——> Princess Diana——> Princess Grace——> Alfred Hitchcock——> Raymond Chandler——> Howard Hawks——> Howard Hughes——> Cubby Broccoli——> George Lazenby——> Simon Dee——> Michael Ramsey——> Geoffery Fisher——> Roald Dahl——> Kingsley Amis——> Anthony Armstrong-Jones——> Barry Humphries——> Salvador Dali——> Sigmund Freud——> Gustav Mahler——> Auguste Rodin——> Isadora Duncan——> Jean Cocteau——> Charlie Chaplin——> Groucho Marx——> T.S. Eliot——> Queen Elizabeth I——> The Duchess of Windsor——> Adolf Hitler

I suppose it’s appropriate that this list begins and ends with Hitler. At this point in time, he might be the single most recognizable person of the 20th century. Ghoulish as the shadow he casts over humanity is.

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