Campbell, Claude 1929-
CAMPBELL, Claude 1929-
Born January 25, 1929, in Chicago, IL; son of Claude (an art salesman) and Mary (a personnel worker; maiden name, Morrissey) Campbell; married Audrey Anderson (a retired rehabilitation counselor) November 12, 1971; children: Tessa Loewen, Nichole Egelhof, Sean Campbell, Victoria Campbell, Claude Campbell, Bruce Campbell, Mary Campbell, Karen Koester. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Lincoln Memorial University, B.A., 1951; Brooklyn College, M.A., 1956. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Genealogy, painting.
Home—15012 South Placita Tierra Linda, Sahuarita, AZ 85629. Agent—c/o Bridge Works Publishing Co., P.O. Box 1798, Bridgehampton, NY 11932.
New York City Department of Welfare, New York, NY, social investigator, 1956-59; McKee High School, Staten Island, NY, teacher, 1959-69; College of Staten Island, associate professor of English, 1970-84. Served as both vice president and president of Professional Staff Congress Credit Union, 1975-84. Military service: U.S. Navy, 1946-48; Military Sea Transport Service, seaman, 1951-56.
Staten Island Democratic Association (founder).
Looped Lariats (western novel), Arcadia Press (New York, NY), 1957.
Abou and the Angel Cohen (novel), Bridge Works Publishing Co. (Bridgehampton, NY), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The Great Divide, a historical work set during the U.S. Civil War.
Claude Campbell was born in Chicago, Illinois, and educated in Tennessee and New York. His novel Abou and the Angel Cohen takes its inspiration from the poem "Abou Ben Adhem," which was written by Leigh Hunt in 1834. In Hunt's version of the tale, Abou gains God's favor by loving his fellow man. Campbell's twist on the tale sets the action in modern-day Gaza, where Abou Ben Adhem is an elderly goat-herd living in a tent near his daughter and her husband. Twenty years earlier, he had been visited by an angel named Yousef, who informed Abou that he was beloved by God because of his kindness. Now another angel appears to Abou, only this one is a disheveled dark-haired man named Cohen. Cohen tells Abou that God does not distinguish between religions and is no longer bothering to provide denominational or ethnic matches between angels and humans. And more importantly, Abou has slipped on God's list of the most beloved, replaced by Jimmy Carter. From there the novel follows Abou through the next thirteen days of his life, as he attempts to cope with his family and the political situation in his homeland.
The Arab-Israeli conflict provides a volatile backdrop for Campbell's novel, despite its fanciful premise. Melanie Duncan, reviewing the novel for Library Journal, called it "a provocative look at religion and war." Morton I. Teicher, in a review for the Jewish Press Online, stated that "this is a bold novel because it dares to introduce a note of levity into the serious struggle between Israel and the Arabs." Not all reviewers welcomed the humor. Tirdad Derakhshani, reviewing for the Philadelphia Inquirer Web site, wrote that "Campbell has good intentions … but I think the conflict deserves to be represented with more subtlety than is on display here." A contributor for Publishers Weekly stated that "Abou's plight is an illuminating if somewhat oversimplified yarn about the way politics are entangled with family life in the Middle East." A Kirkus Reviews critic commented that "the realistic view of Palestinian difficulties and the vision offered here of a better life are a welcome addition to the never-ending debate on the Middle East."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2002, John Green, review of Abou and the Angel Cohen, p. 990.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2001, review of Abou and the Angel Cohen, p. 1700.
Library Journal, April 1, 2002, Melanie Duncan, review of Abou and the Angel Cohen, p. 137.
Publishers Weekly, January 7, 2002, review of Abou and the Angel Cohen, p. 44.
Washington Post Book World, March 25, 2002, Lorraine Adams, "Megillah Guerrilla," review of Abou and the Angel Cohen, p. C2.
Jewish Press Online,http://www.thejewishpress.com/ (May 30, 2002), Morton I. Teicher, review of Abou and the Angel Cohen.
Philadelphia Inquirer Online,http://www.philly.com/ (August 30, 2004), Tirdad Derakhshani, review of Abou and the Angel Cohen.