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Beschreibung des Verlags
A spirited and revealing memoir by the most celebrated editor of his time
After editing The Columbia Review, staging plays at Cambridge, and a stint in the greeting-card department of Macy's, Robert Gottlieb stumbled into a job at Simon and Schuster. By the time he left to run Alfred A. Knopf a dozen years later, he was the editor in chief, having discovered and edited Catch-22 and The American Way of Death, among other bestsellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an astonishing list of authors, including Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton--not to mention Bruno Bettelheim and Miss Piggy. In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with wit and candor about succeeding William Shawn as the editor of The New Yorker, and the challenges and satisfactions of running America's preeminent magazine. Sixty years after joining Simon and Schuster, Gottlieb is still at it--editing, anthologizing, and, to his surprise, writing.
But this account of a life founded upon reading is about more than the arc of a singular career--one that also includes a lifelong involvement with the world of dance. It's about transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and family, psychoanalysis and Bakelite purses, the alchemical relationship between writer and editor, the glory days of publishing, and--always--the sheer exhilaration of work.
Photograph of Bob Gottlieb © by Jill Krementz
Gottlieb (Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens), the former head of the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house and ex-editor of the New Yorker, looks back on his exploits taming America's literary lions in this canny, exuberant memoir. He frames his breezy, loose-limbed narrative around vignettes of his dealings with people in the publishing world and, especially, with the authors he edited, including Lauren Bacall, Robert Caro, John Cheever, Bill Clinton, Joseph Heller, and Toni Morrison. His lengthy account of his controversial 1987 takeover of the New Yorker editorship from the legendary William Shawn outraged staffers asked him to turn it down unfolds into a good-humored but probing inquest into the magazine's cloistered culture. Another section follows his adventures on the board of the New York City Ballet, with brilliant choreographer George Balanchine and brilliant impresario Lincoln Kirstein. Gottlieb's portraits of the literati are vivid, usually generous, and always clear-eyed (thriller writer Michael Crichton, he allows, has a knack for catchy conceits, although "what wasn't was a very good writer"). Gottlieb's depictions of editing sessions really shine as he describes helping each author sculpt a book into its ideal form, and he conveys the enormous energy and creativity of American publishing. Photos.