THE WHOLE CATASTROPHE by George Soter

THE WHOLE CATASTROPHE

The Story of My (Often Terrific) Life
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Soter (You Should Get A Cat, 2016, etc.) eulogizes his father, the adman and retailer George Soter, in this biography.

“I got into advertising because I didn’t know what else I could do,” remembers George Soter decades after the fact, when the popularity of the TV show Mad Men had renewed the public’s interest in the era. Born to Greek immigrants in Chicago in 1924, George Soter rose to prominence in the advertising industry for his popular 1950s Renault “Le Car Hot” campaign. He later duplicated that success in the realm of retail by opening Greek Island Ltd., a chic Manhattan boutique specializing in Greek products and artifacts whose clientele included Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, and Faye Dunaway. In addition to these two career highlights, the book covers Soter’s personal life, from his childhood in Chicago to his service in the Signal Corps during World War II to his ill-fated attempts to place a cartoon in the New Yorker. The narrative concentrates on the two great passions of Soter’s life: his ever expanding family and the landscape of his ancestral Greece: “He was happiest of all on vacation in Greece: the sea, the sun, the afternoon lunches, the relatives, the whole catastrophe.” Soter’s son Tom Soter is the primary author, although the book is narrated mostly from the perspective of George Soter, who recorded audio interviews with Tom that served as the basis of the work. Two other sons, Nick and Peter, each provide brief introductions, and numerous family photos appear throughout the text. The book, which often waxes reverential, gives interesting accounts of the various milieus through which George Soter passed—and makes sure to note the famous people whose paths his happened to cross—but would be of primary interest to family members.

A charming but rather dull account of an adman’s life by his adoring son.

Pub Date: April 9th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-5075-4655-0
Page count: 308pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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