The author Curt Gentry was a big Steinbeck fan and he went out of his way to kindly help me with my book “Dogging Steinbeck.” Here’s the beginning of his obit from the San Francisco Chronicle today:
Curt Gentry, a San Francisco author who wrote or co-wrote 13 books including best-sellers “Helter Skelter” about the Charles Manson case and a harshly critical biography of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, died July 10 in a San Francisco hospital.
Gentry was incredibly kind to me when I met him in the spring of 2010 while doing research for what became “Dogging Steinbeck.” He bought me lunch twice and gave me his notes and the draft of his Chronicle article (see below) from his encounter/interview with Steinbeck in the fall of 1960, when Steinbeck and wife Elaine stopped at the St. Francis Hotel on Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley” trip.
Gentry was one of the first to read my book and he wrote a wonderful blurb about it. When I read it at my book store/library appearances, I can hardly keep from choking up.
He was a great guy with great stories. I’ll always be sorry he was too sick to meet with me the last time I was in San Francisco.
The blurb Gentry wrote for my book, which was perfect and fair:
I still believe John Steinbeck is one of America’s greatest writers and I still love “Travels With Charley,” be it fact or fiction or, as Bill Steigerwald doggedly proved, both. While I disagree with a number of Steigerwald’s conclusions, I don’t dispute his facts. He greatly broadened my understanding of Steinbeck the man and the author, particularly during his last years. And, whether Steigerwald intended it or not, in tracking down the original draft of “Travels With Charley” he made a significant contribution to Steinbeck’s legacy. “Dogging Steinbeck” is a good honest book.
– Curt Gentry
Author of “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders” (with Vincent Bugliosi)