Next book



For lovers of literature and devotees of the New Yorker, this memoir is likely to prove endlessly captivating.

The longtime editor at Simon & Schuster, Knopf, and the New Yorker thankfully breaks his vow to never write a memoir.

Born in 1931, Gottlieb (Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt, 2010, etc.) grew up as an only child in Manhattan. Brainy, glib, and something of a know-it-all, he did not plan for a publishing career, but he happened into it during his 20s and quickly rocketed to the top. A perceptive reader of both fiction and nonfiction, Gottlieb understood his control-freak tendencies—partially recognized and worked through during rigorous psychoanalysis—but managed to collaborate smoothly with most of his authors and their literary agents, not to mention his bosses at all three employers. Throughout the book, the author offers countless vignettes, anecdotes, and bits of gossip, and most are positive in nature. At times, however, Gottlieb includes passages that savage authors, agents, publishers, and editors, including himself. The feast of names whose literature and/or personalities become skillfully illuminated by Gottlieb is vast and endlessly impressive: Joseph Heller, Jessica Mitford, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Julia Child, John Updike, Barbara Tuchman, Edna O'Brien, John le Carré, Ray Bradbury, Robert Caro, Nora Ephron, Mordecai Richler, Chaim Potok, William Shirer, Michael Crichton, Kay Graham, Bill Clinton, Renata Adler, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lauren Bacall, Lillian Ross, William Shawn, Sonny Mehta, Lynn Nesbit, Swifty Lazar, Alfred A. Knopf, Blanche Knopf, and Si Newhouse. In addition, the author discusses his relationships with his co-workers (Michael Korda figures prominently, and almost all co-workers receive positive portrayals), parents, two wives, children, and friends. Almost incidentally, Gottlieb scatters suggestions about successful writing and editing techniques and, above all, how to maintain a productive author-editor collaboration.

For lovers of literature and devotees of the New Yorker, this memoir is likely to prove endlessly captivating.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-27992-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Next book


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Next book



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

Close Quickview