Cover flap text: How does someone become the most celebrated editor of his time?
After editing The Cambridge Review, staging plays at Cambridge, and doing 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, The American Way of Death, The Chosen, and True Grit, among other exceptional books. 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, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Tuchman, Nora Ephron, and Bill Clinton—not to mention Bruno Bettelheim and Miss Piggy.
In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with candor about succeeding William Shawn as the editor of The New Yorker, and the challenges and satisfactions of running America’s most renowned 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 vocation in the world of dance. It’s about transcendent friendships and collaborations, “elective affinities” and family, psychoanalysis and plastic pocketbooks, the alchemical relationship between writer and editor, the glory days of publishing, and—always—the sheer exhilaration of work.
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