Max Perkins: Editor of Geniusby A. Scott Berg
The talents he nurtured as an editor were known worldwide: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and numerous others. But Maxwell Perkins remained a mystery, a backstage presence who served these authors not only as book/b>/i>
The National Book Award winner from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, A. Scott Berg.
The talents he nurtured as an editor were known worldwide: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and numerous others. But Maxwell Perkins remained a mystery, a backstage presence who served these authors not only as book editor extraordinaire but also as critic, career manager, money-lender, psychoanalyst, father-confessor, and friend.
This outstanding biography, a winner of the National Book Award, is the first to explore the fascinating life of this editor extraordinaire—in both the professional and personal domains. It tells not only of Perkin’s stormy marriage, endearing eccentricities, and secret twenty-five-year romance with Elizabeth Lemmon, but also of his intensely intimate relationships with leading literary lights of the twentieth century. It is, in the words of Newsweek, "an admirable biography of a wholly admirable man."
“Berg has told this story unobtrusively and with great feeling, and he has (perhaps just in the nick of time) rescued Perkins from permanent obscurity.”—The Atlantic
“[An] exhaustive, penetrating, and wholly satisfying biography...Scrupulous, thoughtful, touching, memorable, and eminently rewarding.”—Jonathan Yardley, The Miami Herald
“Talented, intelligent, and marvelously researched...A work that does honor to the subject.”—Chicago Tribune
“Berg’s whole narrative is first-rate—filled with humor and feeling. Max would have published it in a minute.”—Newsweek
“Although Perkins would have been embarrassed by the attention, Berg’s tribute would have touched him.”—Time
“A book about Maxwell Perkins? Of course! Why didn’t someone think of it before?...Berg has done very well...It’s a fascinating and illuminating story.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“As complete a Max Perkins as we will ever need. It’s an extraordinary vivid portrait.”—Webster Schott, The Washington Post Book World
“Perkins turns out to have been as fascinating, dark, complex, and sad as any of his golden boys. A lovely book about the age of giants and the extraordinary man in the shadows behind them.”—Russell Baker
“Max Perkins was the best of the best. This book brings him back alive.”—Erskine Caldwell
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What People are saying about this
Praise for A. Scott Berg’s Max Perkins: Editor of Genius
“A highly readable work of literary history.” —New York Times Book Review
“An extraordinarily fine and moving portrait of the man who assembled America’s finest literary gang.” —Russell Baker
“Talented, intelligent, and marvellously researched... A work that does honor to the subject.” —Chicago Tribune
“A. Scott Berg has…(perhaps just in the nick of time) rescued Perkins from permanent obscurity.” —Atlantic Monthly
"In the history of American publishing there is no more legendary -- and elusive -- figure than Maxwell Evarts Perkins.... Now the mystery has been solved in Scott Berg's exhaustive, penetrating, and wholly satisfying biography... Scrupulous, thoughtful, touching, memorable, and eminently rewarding." —Jonathan Yardley, The Miami Herald
"A. Scott Berg's Max Perkins: Editor of Genius seems such a natural that it makes you wonder why no one ever thought of writing such a book before. [Among] the virtues of this biography is that Perkins emerges from the shadows... The details enrich the legend." —Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
"Max Perkins was the best of hte best. This book brings him back alive." —Erskine Caldwell
Praise for A. Scott Berg’s Lindbergh
“Berg’s book is an extraordinary achievement. In his authoritative chronicle, Berg has allowed the inconsistencies, nuances, and tribulations of Lindbergh’s life to speak for themselves without judgment or speculation. In doing so, he has given us the definitive account of a dramatic and disturbing American story.”--Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Charles Lindbergh is the ultimate American life, and Berg’s new biography is the ultimate exploration of that life. In an astonishing biography of a man who personified the future tense, no sentence is overwritten, no passage overwrought.”--Boston Sunday Globe
“Berg’s monumental new biography is a richly detailed and deeply nuanced examination of a historic life in all its complexity. This is fall’s must-read biography.”--Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Berg turns that historic flight into a cogent and thoroughly gripping account that conveys all the magic, danger and courage of the young pilot’s achievement. A similar narrative prowess informs Berg’s account of the 1932 kidnapping of Lindbergh’s infant son and the subsequent trial of Hauptmann – an account that reads, at once, as a harrowing thriller and a sobering study in the unreckoned consequences of fame.”--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A superb biography.”--Time Magazine
“The most outstanding piece of nonfiction that I have read this year. Berg does a spectacular job of establishing why Lindbergh proves such a powerful icon for the 20th century. A substantial piece of history that illuminates an important figure in world history. It’s the kind of book that took almost a decade to create. And it’s worth it.”--USA Today
“Berg brings us about as close as I suspect we will ever get to the man himself.”--The New York Times Book Review
Meet the Author
A. Scott Berg is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of five biographies: Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, winner of the National Book Award; Goldwyn, for which he received a Guggenheim Fellowship; Lindbergh, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Kate Remembered, his biographical memoir of Katharine Hepburn; and Wilson, the definitive biography of twenty-eighth president Woodrow Wilson.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This biography, by the masterful biographer, A. Scott Berg, is the best biography I have ever read. Ever. And I have read innumerable biographies, of everyone from film celebrities to historical figures and everything in between, but especially literary biographies. Maxwell Perkins was an editor of genius during the heyday of NY publishing. His roster of authors included, among others, Marjorie Kinan Rawlings, Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. While exploring the life of the man himself, the book also shines a light into the lives of his authors, and particularly in the case of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, of their acquaintance. Filled with letters among the various parties, this biography comes springing to life. As Perkins led Wolfe from a towering pile of disorganized writing to several classic and timeless works, as he dealt with Fitzgerald's and Hemingway's demons, he gently, and gentlemanly, enabled these authors' genius to flower. This biography of Perkins' own trials and tribulations, his family life, and the window into the world of publishing, when the writing was the thing, is unbeatable. If you love books and publishing and want to know how important an editor can be in the process of birthing a book, you simply cannot miss this!
I found the subject so well researched and written that this biography read like a novel. I didn't want to put it down.
Scott Berg's biography of Max Perkins is a smooth, readable account of America's greatest editor in the prewar period, the midwife for works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe in the twenties and thirties, when big-time publishing converged on New York. Berg's book is cunningly organized: the reader steps at once into the rough and tumble of editorial work at Scribner's, leaving Perkins' early life, marriage, and family to be described in concise digressions taken only after another satisfying dollop of publishing history. Unhappily, once Perkins has delivered his discoveries to the public, the rest is mostly about their boozy extravagance (Fitzgerald), bullying ego trips (Hemingway), and petulant indiscipline verging on insanity (Wolfe). So even if, for this reason, you stop two-thirds of the way through, your curiosity about this key figure in modern literary history will be very well satisfied.
Scott Berg has written a wonderful biography on one of the most important men in American literature, Max Perkins. Berg's book is well-written and very entertaining. It is more than a biography of Perkins, it is also a biography of Hemingway, Scott Fiztgerald, and Thomas Wolfe, and a portrait of America during the first half of the 20th century. This is one of those books that I could go on and on about. It is a book that everyone should read.
This book is a lesson in what it means to be a friend. Max Perkins was obviously a person who instinctivly knew how to prod, push, prompt and patch things up with some of the most delicate and talented authors of our century. How he balanced F.S.F. and worked for him even after his death. How he surrounded the giant ego of Hemingway.Also, how he carried the weight of Wolfe. This all wrapped up in a man who was also a loving family man and Husband. All this accomplished by the quiet genius under the fedora.
Most readers have heard of Scott Fitzgerald,Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. Few people know they shared the same editor along with Taylor Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and other literary luminaries of the early 20th century. Scott Berg penned a wonderful portrait of the editor who brought out the best in all of them.