by Carl DavidPublished by Nightengale Press
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Reviewed by Beth Cummings
Carl David is the third generation of a well-known family in art dealership in Philadelphia–the David David Gallery. His father, Sam David (referred to in the book as “Pop”) was a dynamic man, full of life, great at the art business, and the pilot of a twin-engine plane that frequented Bader Field, a small airstrip outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Sam died of a massive heart attack while on a business trip in France in 1973. He was 58 years old and Carl was 24. Carl, his older brother, Alan, and their mother had to fully take over the business while attempting to survive their grief. According to Carl, Sam was not only a fantastic businessman; he was a husband and father extraordinaire. The book is essentially a tribute to Sam David and the legacy he left behind, both in the art world and most importantly in his family.
On one level, the book, while a memoir, is most strongly the memories of “Pop” by a devoted son. It is also a tribute to a strong, loving family that had to deal not only with the untimely death of Sam David, but the suicide of the middle son, Bruce, in 1965. Carl was only fourteen when his 18-year-old brother hung himself at their father’s gallery. So the book is very much the story of coping with grief.
On another level, the book is an interesting study on flying small planes and the joy that Carl took in this activity with his father. Their experiences at Bader Field give the book its title.
In the final level, Carl David explains in part his life’s work in the art world. From a unique perspective, he supplies glimpses into the procurement of art from collectors and the conservancy of old works.
It is an interesting book filled with love and sentiment. It gives a fine look at the David family. Its major flaw may be that Carl loves the family so much that he fails to remain objective about them. But perhaps he doesn’t have to.
Armchair Interviews says: A memoir worth reading.
Author’s Web site: http://www.CarlDavid.com