Here’s part of a http://www.amazon.com Customer Review of Shep’s Army:
This is really vintage Shep.
When I received this book I immediately read it. On page 5 the editor, Eugene Bergman, says that Shepherd’s radio style, his stories, spoken and written appear intensely autobiographical, but–brace yourselves–they ain’t. That kind-of burst the bubble I’ve created about him. While a great, warm and wonderful story teller Shepherd was, I’d like to continue imagining him exactly the way he described in all his books and radio shows. And, I will.
Eugene B. Bergmann says:
You indicate that the book is “vintage Shep” and you recommend that people buy the book, but I’m sorry you are disappointed that I say that the stories aren’t true to fact. I would like to correct what appears to be your inadvertent misreading of what I said in the introduction. I didn’t say that “Shepherd’s radio style, his stories, spoken and written appear intensely autobiographical, but–brace yourselves–they ain’t.” By leaving out the first part of that sentence, one gets the impression that I said that his whole radio style (everything he said on his broadcasts) was not autobiographical. I do believe that most of what he said on the radio (other than his stories, which constituted only a fraction of his radio broadcast time) was true to himself–it’s a major part of what we love about him.
I said that it was his intimate, first-person style (of his entire shows) that influenced people into thinking that his “story” portions of his shows were also true to fact. Here is that sentence, complete with its first part: “For many people, influenced by his intimate, first-person radio style, Shepherd’s stories, spoken and written, appear intensely autobiographical, but–brace yourself–they ain’t.”
His stories, seeming to be an inextricably mixed part of the rest of his talk, are a somewhat different matter. In fact, he frequently prefaces them by saying something like, “Let me tell you a story.” Yes, “story” can be a truthful thing or a fictional thing. I believe he purposely creates this confusion–the listener maybe thinking truthful story, while he is saying (to himself) fictional story. In contrast, when he tells a narrative about one of his many travels, I believe he is just about entirely telling what actually happened–and, to my knowledge, he never prefaces a travel tale of his by saying “Let me tell you a story.” Although it’s usually difficult to tell when Shepherd is telling the truth in general, I do believe that what he says in what’s regarded as his final interview–with Alan Colmes in 1998–he puts it bluntly and truthfully:
“Every good performer should sound like he is–like it’s real…..I’m an actor, you know. And I want my stuff to sound real. And so when I tell a story, I tell it in the first person, so it sounds like–by the way, that’s the best way to tell a good story, in the first person–that it sounds like it actually happened to me. It didn’t.” He continued: “I’m a fiction writer. I’m not sitting there doing a biography or an autobiography. Those are all stories.” [He emphasizes the word “stories.”]
YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH