Books by Michael Korda

PASSING by Michael Korda
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 8, 2019

"A compassionate chronicle of a couple's last year."
A devoted husband bears witness to his wife's final illness. Read full book review >
ALONE by Michael Korda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 19, 2017

"An excellent revisitation of a critically important set of battles that, once a byword for courage, have faded in memory."
A swiftly paced, illuminating account of events at the opening of World War II in Europe, recounting "a military defeat with a happy ending." Read full book review >
CLOUDS OF GLORY by Michael Korda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 13, 2014

"Lee is a man for the ages, and Korda delivers the goods with this heart-wrenching story of the man and his state. Readers with the stamina for long biographies should follow this book with S.G. Gwynne's biography of Stonewall Jackson, Rebel Yell, to publish in September."
A masterful biography of the beloved Civil War general. Read full book review >
HERO by Michael Korda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 16, 2010

"Though occasionally fawning, an accessible, textured story of one man who intimately knew the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune."
Book-publishing veteran and prolific historian Korda (With Wings Like Eagles: The Untold Story of the Battle of Britain, 2009, etc.) offers a comprehensive, admiring treatment of one of England's most popular if controversial military celebrities, T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935). Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 6, 2009

"Korda is a fluent storyteller with an eye for the ironies and political gamesmanship of the Battle of Britain. His book isn't quite required reading, as Churchill's is, but it's much fairer-minded."
Spirited study of the world-changing aerial campaign waged nearly 70 years ago. Read full book review >
IKE by Michael Korda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 21, 2007

"An engaging history, guided by an elegant, witty sense of characterization."
Distinguished man of letters and former Simon & Schuster editor-in-chief Korda (Journey to Revolution, 2006, etc.) stylishly and sympathetically restores Dwight D. Eisenhower to an eminent place in the military and political pantheon. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 3, 2006

"A harrowing and horrifying tale told in spare and poignant prose—sometimes bitter, sometimes ironic, always powerful."
A veteran writer and editor recalls his youthful, quixotic car trip to Budapest to deliver medical relief supplies during the brief Hungarian uprising against the Soviets in the fall of 1956. Read full book review >
ULYSSES S. GRANT by Michael Korda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Inconsequential but pleasant. For meatier treatments, see Jean Edward Smith's Grant (2001) and, more recently, Josiah Bunting's brief life of the general and president (p. 612)."
Who's buried in Grant's tomb? Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2003

"Sometimes achingly snooty, but in his stride Korda brings an engagingly lofty hand, both intimate and erudite, to the horses that have shaped his life. (17 line drawings by the author, 24 b&w photos)"
In this catalogue of horses and horse folk who have passed through the author's life, the animals possess tactility while the people are simply too-too. Read full book review >
ANOTHER LIFE by Michael Korda
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 1999

This is more entertaining than lunch with a power editor at the Four Seasons Grill—full of delicious gossip plus a lesson or two in book publishing. Korda, of course, is a power editor (editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster) as well as a best-selling author (Man to Man, 1996; Charmed Lives: A Memoir, 1979; etc.). He's also a world-class raconteur with apparently total recall. In this memoir, which skims quickly over his career at Oxford and his experiences in the RAF and in the Hungarian Revolution, he alternates snapshots of authors, editors, and publishers he has known with exploration of the growth and changes in book publishing since he began at Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) in 1958. As he moved up in the hierarchy to edit and buy books for S&S, he took on Will and Ariel Durant, Irving Wallace, Harold Robbins, and Robert Moses. He became friends with legendary agent Irving Lazar, who called every day with a new book or proposal—invaluable to a young editor—and with Dick Snyder, just starting out on the publishing side of S&S and who was later to take it to a multi-billion dollar business. Korda also began working with authors like Jacqueline Susann, Carlos Castaneda ("I have never doubted for a moment the truth of his stories about Don Juan"), Larry McMurtry (drawn to Korda because they shared an interest in rodeos), Joan Crawford, Graham Greene (an old family friend), Tennessee Williams (who literally drank himself under the table), Jesse Jackson (who never did produce a book), and Claus von BÅlow (ditto). Korda both roasts and toasts most of these notables, embroidering tales of their not always endearing eccentricities and at the same time applauding their talents. Neither modest or boastful about his own considerable abilities, Korda offers relatively few glimpses into his private life: long hours at work broke up his first marriage; his second wife is fond of horses and pigs. Deft, amusing, informative—just what the editor might hope for from one of his own authors. (Author tour) Read full book review >
MAN TO MAN by Michael Korda
NON-FICTION
Released: May 1, 1996

A riveting, candid, first-person account of one man's encounter with prostate cancer. Every year some 200,000 men in this country are diagnosed with prostate cancer. In 1994, Korda, editor in chief of Simon and Schuster and a master storyteller (The Immortals, 1992, etc.), became one of them. He relates, doctor by doctor, test by test, fear by fear, how it changed his life. Initially referred to Memorial Sloan-Kettering's Prostate Cancer Detection Center in New York City, he began a learning process there that he shares honestly and clearly with readers. After interviewing both a surgeon and a radiologist and listening to the advice of prostate cancer survivors, he opted for surgery at Johns Hopkins. His surgeon was Dr. Patrick Walsh, inventor of a nerve-sparing technique for radical prostatectomy that offered Korda the hope of retaining sexual potency. Following surgery, however, it was not impotence but incontinence, with its stigma and potential for humiliating accidents, that became his major concern. Although Korda is amazingly frank in his discussion of his problems, male readers are likely to find his experiences more reassuring than alarming. Happily, by book's end, some nine months after surgery, he seems to be well on the way to living a normal life. While the book is as difficult to put down as a good thriller, Korda's account is notable for the amount of solid information about prostate cancer that he weaves into this very personal story. In Korda's view, knowledge is power, and he urges all men to learn as much as possible about prostate cancer before it happens to them. Not the final word on prostate cancer detection or treatment, but a great awareness-raiser and highly recommended for any man who has, or has ever had, a prostate. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE IMMORTALS by Michael Korda
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

Sweeping love story of Marilyn Monroe's long-standing affairs with Senator, then President, Kennedy and brother Bobby. That Marilyn and JFK might someday be worthy of the high treatment given by Wild Bill Shakespeare to Antony and Cleopatra remains a teaser for playwrights and novelists. But in his latest (already slated for filming as well as heavy marketing), Korda- -Queenie, Curtain, etc.—sets his sights much lower than great tragedy and gives us a work of strong intelligence and ravishing vulgarity. Almost no event in it is unfamiliar, though its great garden of sex-play springs largely from imagination. Many readers will be dismayed by Korda's pillow talk among the gods, sex chat given a saltiness that may fit the actual MM & JFK but that looks cheap on paper. The story: MM, married to DiMaggio, meets Senator Kennedy at a Beverly Hills party; he gives her his card; they rendezvous. Marilyn is bored by her husbands and treats adultery like a midnight plum duff. She loves Jack, Jack loves MM. He has an arrangement with Jackie that his satyriasis need not be contained but must remain discreet; MM's being the most famous woman in the world, however, crimps JFK's ties with jealous Jackie, who finds out about the ongoing affair. Meanwhile, RFK attacks the Teamsters hierarchy, Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa, and Jimmy in turn bugs Peter Lawford's love-tryst bungalow, various hotel rooms, and MM's phone and bedroom, all of which are already bugged by J.Edgar Hoover's FBI team. Once JFK is president, he withdraws from MM. RFK becomes her lover, gets her with child. MM's meds take their toll, she becomes ever more erratic, puts unbearable strain on the Brothers K when she announces a tell-all press conference.... About midway, when the freshness of the lovers wanes and a certain sourness overtakes them, the story darkens and the mechanics of the many- leveled plot deflates the reader's gusto, though not Korda's. Many brilliant scenes, but not as artful or haunting as Sam Toperoff's 1991 MM novel, Queen of Desire. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for November) Read full book review >
CURTAIN by Michael Korda
Released: Feb. 26, 1990

Korda's tightest, most smoothly written, most tackily distasteful novel, in a lengthening line of tacky tales, and his best ever. This time Korda delves deeper into his characters than ever before, perhaps because he choses some vastly engaging folks to write about—Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, whose romance of the century gets lacquered here. Robert Vane, the world's greatest actor, lies dying in old age, under the portrait of glamorous ex-wife Felicia Lisle, as his present wife rages frumpishly. Then it's back to Hollywood in the early 1940's. Lisha (Felicia) and Robby have had a long love affair in public while married to others and awaiting divorces that never come. Lisha has just won world renown and an Oscar while Robert fritters. They decide to go on the road as Romeo and Juliet, but in San Francisco Lisha dries up during the balcony scene (she's going mad and will need hospitalization) and Robert falls from the balcony. The show closes, leaving the two actors deep in debt. After a big party at their Hollywood home, Lisha spies Robert and next-door neighbor Randy Brooks, the country's most beloved comedian (Danny Kaye), making out in the library. Has Robby gone queer? The thought haunts Lisha, drives her bonkers, and reoccurs when Robby later falls into a deep friendship with genius critic Guillam Pentecoste (Kenneth Tynan). Meanwhile, Robby and Lisha are rescued by a $400,000 loan from Marty Quick (Jed Harris/Mike Todd) on the promise of their appearing in his film of Don Quixote. Lisha is also haunted by memories of her wicked Uncle Harry, who sired her daughter Portia (though only she and Harry know this) and who now wants Portia to raise (and violate?). As WW II ends, Marty wants payment while Lisha goes ever more mad. Along the way, magnificent secondary characters include Robby's rivals, gay Philip Chagrin (John Gielgud) and dotty Toby Eden (Ralph Richardson), who steal every page they appear on. Once you forgive yourself, it's riveting, especially Korda's rich ideas about classical acting and the Vanes' talents. Read full book review >