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CONDÉ NAST

THE MAN AND HIS EMPIRE--A BIOGRAPHY

A highly flattering biography of an important figure in American publishing.

A sympathetic life of the publisher of Vanity Fair, Vogue, and other stylish magazines.

Ronald, who has published a number of other biographies (Hitler's Art Thief: Hildebrand Gurlitt, the Nazis, and the Looting of Europe's Treasures, 2015, etc.), returns with the thoroughly researched story of Condé Nast (1873-1942), following him from birth to death (both in New York) and charting his rise in the publishing world, his significant financial difficulties during the Depression, his married and love lives (not always the same), and his battles with prostate cancer and, finally, a weak heart. Throughout, Ronald’s tone is deeply admiring as she chronicles Nast’s work ethic, appearance, devotion to his staff members (he “had an anaphylactic reaction to firing people”), and his stellar parties. A first marriage did not work out; nor did his second to a woman some 30 years his junior. The author also tells us—more than once—that Nast attracted “some of the most stunning women in the world,” though he “never used his position or power on women.” Later, suffering the aftereffects of prostate cancer and its dire treatments, he endured permanent erectile dysfunction. Appearing on Nast’s vast stage were some of the most creative characters of the day, including Robert Benchley, Robert Sherwood, Coco Chanel, Truman Capote, Dorothy Parker, and Cecil Beaton. (A long list is in the backmatter.) Nast got along with most of them (though some were fired), and the author praises them, as well. The one exception is Clare Brokaw (later Clare Boothe Luce), whom Ronald assails more than once for her self-interest and her insatiable sexual appetites. Readers interested in business history will enjoy the strategies and principles dear to Nast and the accounts of his competition with William Randolph Hearst.

A highly flattering biography of an important figure in American publishing.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-18002-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


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  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Winner


  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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NIGHT

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

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