By Robert Gottlieb

A lively and revealing memoir via the main celebrated editor of his time

After modifying The Columbia Review, staging performs at Cambridge, and a stint within the greeting-card division of Macy's, Robert Gottlieb stumbled right into a activity at Simon and Schuster. by the point he left to run Alfred A. Knopf a dozen years later, he was once the editor in leader, having chanced on and edited Catch-22 and The American approach of Death, between different bestsellers. At Knopf, Gottlieb edited an extraordinary record of authors, together with Toni Morrison, John Cheever, Doris Lessing, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Graham, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, and invoice Clinton--not to say Bruno Bettelheim and leave out Piggy. In Avid Reader, Gottlieb writes with wit and candor approximately succeeding William Shawn because the editor of The New Yorker, and the demanding situations and satisfactions of working America's preeminent journal. Sixty years after becoming a member of Simon and Schuster, Gottlieb remains to be at it--editing, anthologizing, and, to his shock, writing.

But this account of a lifestyles based upon interpreting is set greater than the arc of a unique career--one that still features a lifelong involvement with the area of dance. it truly is approximately transcendent friendships and collaborations, "elective affinities" and relations, psychoanalysis and Bakelite handbags, the alchemical courting among author and editor, the dignity days of publishing, and--always--the sheer excitement of work.

Photograph of Bob Gottlieb © via Jill Krementz

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Since he was an earnest Anglican minister with serious doubts about both Americans and married undergraduates—he was far from married himself—this was a notable act of bravery on his part. Posting notices in the two women’s colleges, Newnham and Girton, I held auditions for the ten women I needed for the Chorus, and had the luck to find in Pembroke an extraordinarily handsome young man to play Thomas Becket—his air of saintliness (genuine) must have been inherited from his father, who was an Anglican missionary bishop in Africa.

Most Saturdays I would take the subway down to the theater district and stand in line to buy a single ticket for whatever shows had opened to good reviews that week. 80 seats in the upper balcony. It was a heyday for Broadway hits—Harvey, I Remember Mama (the young brother Nels was played by Marlon Brando), Carousel, the thrillingly sophisticated On the Town, The Madwoman of Chaillot, dozens more. These solo ventures were daring for me: I was an overprotected boy who had hardly ever done anything on his own.

I soaked up this data, and at the prompting of my parents would recite the list to anyone who came to our house who was willing to listen. ) It was marginally less embarrassing than playing the piano—badly—for them. When we moved to Manhattan, I was sent for fourth grade to a small and somewhat precious private school in the West Nineties which still exists, though it crossed the park many years ago. It was called Birch-Wathen, having been founded by two ladies: Miss Birch, who presided over the high school, and Mrs.

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