ANOTHER LIFE by Michael Korda

ANOTHER LIFE

A Memoir of Other People
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KIRKUS REVIEW

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)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-679-45659-7
Page count: 544pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1999




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