Salinger

( 16 )

Overview

Based on eight years of exhaustive research and exclusive interviews with more than 200 people—and published in coordination with the international theatrical release of a major documentary film from the Weinstein Company—The Private War of J.D. Salinger is a global cultural event: the definitive biography of one of the most beloved and mysterious figures of the twentieth century.

For more than fifty years, the ever elusive author of The Catcher in the Rye has been the subject ...

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Overview

Based on eight years of exhaustive research and exclusive interviews with more than 200 people—and published in coordination with the international theatrical release of a major documentary film from the Weinstein Company—The Private War of J.D. Salinger is a global cultural event: the definitive biography of one of the most beloved and mysterious figures of the twentieth century.

For more than fifty years, the ever elusive author of The Catcher in the Rye has been the subject of a relentless stream of newspaper and magazine articles as well as several biographies. Yet all of these attempts have been hampered by a fundamental lack of access and by the persistent recycling of inaccurate information. Salinger remains, astonishingly, an enigma. The complex and contradictory human being behind the myth has never been revealed.

No longer.

In the eight years since The Private War of J.D. Salinger was begun, and especially in the three years since Salinger’s death, the authors interviewed on five continents more than 200 people, many of whom had previously refused to go on the record about their relationship with Salinger. This oral biography offers direct eyewitness accounts from Salinger’s World War II brothers-in-arms, his family members, his close friends, his lovers, his classmates, his neighbors, his editors, his publishers, his New Yorker colleagues, and people with whom he had relationships that were secret even to his own family. Shields and Salerno illuminate most brightly the last fifty-six years of Salinger’s life: a period that, until now, had remained completely dark to biographers. Provided unprecedented access to never-before-published photographs (more than 100 throughout the book), diaries, letters, legal records, and secret documents, readers will feel they have, for the first time, gotten beyond Salinger’s meticulously built-up wall. The result is the definitive portrait of one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century.

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  • Salinger Movie Trailer
    Salinger Movie Trailer  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/23/2013
The culmination of over 200 interviews and almost a decade of research, Shields (How Literature Saved My Life) and Salerno, director of the documentary accompanying the book, offer an oral history, effectively blended with narrative and analysis of the iconic writer and his body of work. In lesser hands, this approach could quickly spiral out of control, but Shields and Salerno keep the story on track. Granted, many mileposts and lore—such as Salinger's predilection for young girls or Catcher in the Rye's influence on high-profile assassinations—will not be all that revelatory but the authors' impressive collection of first-person accounts by those who were there gives readers greater insight into the writer and his place in the world. Literary snippets, such as "I'm Crazy," a short story Salinger wrote in Europe that was the first story narrated by Holden Caulfield, and asides—"Jesus, he has a helluva talent," Hemingway is reported to have said of Salinger—combined with a number of photos will make this a must-read for fans of the celebrated author. Photos. (Sept.)
Washington Post
"Positively thick with previously unreleased photos, interviews, and correspondence."
Entertainment Weekly
"The reminiscences are layered with a stunning array of primary material. . . . Taken as a whole—the memories, the documents, the pictures—the book feels as close as we'll ever get to being inside Salinger's head."
Los Angeles Times
"Salinger gets the goods on an author's reclusive life. . . . It strips away the sheen of his exceptionalism, trading in his genius for something much more real."
People
"An explosive new biography."
Denver Post
"An exhaustively detailed portrait of the famously reclusive novelist."
USA Today (3.5 out of 4 stars)
“Eloquently written and exhaustively reported . . . Salinger is an unmitigated success. . . . Shields and Salerno have struck journalistic gold. Salinger is a revelation, and offers the most complete picture of an American icon, a man deified by silence, haunted by war, frustrated in love—and more frail and human than he ever wanted the world to know. . . . A startlingly revealing story.”
The Washington Post
Salinger is the thorny, complicated portrait that its thorny, complicated subject deserves. . . . The book offers the most complete rendering yet of Salinger’s World War II service, the transformative trauma that began with the D-Day invasion and carried through the horrific Battle of Hürtgen Forest and the liberation of a Dachau subcamp.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Engrossing . . . There are fascinating and unique accounts that get to the heart of Salinger. . . . The freshest material comes from Salinger’s letters, which bring his own voice, often adolescent-sounding, into the commentary. Previous biographers didn’t have access to much of this material.”
The Daily Beast
“Juicy . . . Salinger is full of fascinating revelations. . . . The most extensive portrait yet of a writer who spent nearly sixty years doing everything in his power to avoid precisely this kind of exposure.”
Brain Pickings - Maria Popova
“Unprecedented . . . A masterwork . . . An exquisitely researched and beautifully engineered piece of storytelling about one of modern history’s most enigmatic personas.”
Salon - Laura Miller
“Refreshingly frank about [Salinger’s] many shortcomings and how they might have affected his work . . . Salinger amply documents the author’s youthful arrogance and selfishness, his infatuation with his own cleverness and his inability to see the world from the perspective of anyone who wasn’t a lot like himself.”
Time - Lev Grossman
“Vivid . . . There are riches here . . . [Salinger] presents a decade’s worth of genuinely valuable research . . . Salinger doesn’t excuse its subject’s personal failings, but it helps explain them: in his fiction, Salinger had a chance to be the good, untraumatized man he couldn’t be in real life.”
Sunday Times (London) - John Walsh
“A stupendous work . . . I predict with the utmost confidence that, after this, the world will not need another Salinger biography.”
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
“Revealing . . . [A] sharp-edged portrait.”
The Associated Press - Hillel Italie
“Unprecedented . . . Nine years in the making and thoroughly documented . . . Providing by far the most detailed report of previously unreleased material, the book . . . both fleshes out and challenges aspects of the author’s legend. . . . [Salinger] has new information well beyond any possible posthumous fiction.”
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-01
Overstuffed, thoroughly revealing biography--from oral and written sources, and always episodic--of the legendary writer. The big news in Shields (How Literature Saved My Life, 2013, etc.) and Salerno's book, the companion to Salerno's documentary, has been the promise of several new books, completed and approved by Salinger, that will be issued between 2015 and 2020. One is a World War II story, and therein hangs another tale--and a long part of the present volume. Other biographers have noted how strong a part Salinger's wartime experience played in his subsequent thought, but Shields and Salerno chase down the story in minute detail, including Salinger's witness to the liberation of Nazi death camps and the psychological breakdown that ensued: "You never really get the smell of burning flesh out of your nose entirely, no matter how long you live." As he went into combat at Normandy, we learn, Salinger carried six chapters of Catcher in the Rye--"not only as an amulet to help him survive," Shields notes, "but as a reason to survive." Catcher, Salinger's most famous book, was of course autobiographical, and Shields and Salerno lend specific weight to just how and how much. They also link Salinger's famous hermitage, beginning in the 1950s, not necessarily to a desire to flee fame so much as a fulfillment of the Vedanta ideals he had adopted as another kind of sanity-preserving talisman, in which withdrawal from and eventual renunciation of the world is necessary. No question but that Salinger was troubled--and, as the testimonial of former paramour Joyce Maynard and others has it, capable of cruel and creepy behavior. About the only drawback of Shields and Salerno's book is their overly credulous reliance on other writers and their heavy-handedness in piling on the heaps of negativity (some deserved) about Maynard and her ambitions. Was Salinger the major artist he has been held up to be? This book helps defend the affirmative response and whets the appetite for the Salinger books to come.
The Associated Press - Hillel Italie
“Unprecedented . . . Nine years in the making and thoroughly documented . . . Providing by far the most detailed report of previously unreleased material, the book . . . both fleshes out and challenges aspects of the author’s legend. . . . [Salinger] has new information well beyond any possible posthumous fiction.”
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
“Revealing . . . [A] sharp-edged portrait.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476744834
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 9/3/2013
  • Pages: 720
  • Sales rank: 110,674
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Shields is the author of fifteen books, including the New York Times bestseller The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead; Reality Hunger, named one of the best books of 2010 by more than thirty publications; and Black Planet, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has been translated into twenty languages.

Shane Salerno is the director, producer, and writer of Salinger, the highly anticipated documentary film about J.D. Salinger that will premiere theatrically in September 2013 from the Weinstein Company and debut as the 200th episode of American Masters on PBS in early 2014. In addition to Salinger, Salerno has written and produced a number of successful films and TV series. He most recently co-wrote and served as executive producer of the critically acclaimed film Savages, directed by three-time Oscar winner Oliver Stone.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

4 Star

(2)

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(3)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    J.D. Salinger was a beloved and celebrated author for his works

    J.D. Salinger was a beloved and celebrated author for his works like Catcher in the Rye, but he was a recluse and little was known about the man. Now David Shields and Shane Salerno take us on a journey into what drove this very private man. It is an excellent book. It goes in depth into those in his life – his family, his lovers, his neighbors, and his editors.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Salinger is a superb account of the life of famed author J.D. Sa

    Salinger is a superb account of the life of famed author J.D. Salinger. It traces his childhood, his war years, the writing of Catcher in the Rye, and his disappearance from the public eye. The two authors have done a fine job researching the life of this elusive icon.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 26, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    An absolutely brilliant account of the life and career of J.D. S

    An absolutely brilliant account of the life and career of J.D. Salinger!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This book could not be any better. It provides an insightful loo

    This book could not be any better. It provides an insightful look into the mind of a great man. I was thoroughly impressed with the depth of research and insight into J.D. Salinger's troubled life. A true gem!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Wait for the t v movies

    Why would anyone be interested ? If you must get it from the library pictures dont do well on nook page counter

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Interesting one.

    The format is not the best, definitely, but it's got plenty of information you'd sure want to know about Salinger. I haven't seen the documentary but many people said that the book is just the script for it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I enjoyed this book, by the ones who knew him mostly well. I fea

    I enjoyed this book, by the ones who knew him mostly well. I fear the man will never get his right to privacy even in death. There's even know decades of popularity of so much increase on labeling a person. Did Salinger ever owe anyone anything? All the man wanted to do was to be left alone. He didn't run the worlds rich and famous,he didn't trust. because he chose to take the low road and not give into peoples asperations of the fame, they could find nothing more than to attack and attack with devious hatred. He was in noway a hunter of children. He found comfort in their innocence, the careless lives of what the world should be like. Salinger, has the right to keep negativity out of his life and negative people. Once he did this it caused a uproar. Who are we to live his life for him or demand what he should be? Shame on you all. He knew with fame and fanfare, comes the lies, the using, the blackmail. He chose to live his life away from all of that. I say good for him. He did live his life how he felt he wanted too. Shame on those for stalking him, taking cheap shots at him and invading him with a want of one photograph so you could have your paycheck. HE owed you nothing. Salinger, got his way,you are all waiting for more of his writing so you can incriminate him some more. He had his own world, far be it he didn't need or want yours. I hope you can all leave him alone, but I'm sure you wont, once an invader always an invader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    A must! Meeting the man behind the writing.

    This book is a profound entry into the subjective inner experience and the relationships of a most complex, damaged, but gifted man. Shields and Salerno should be praised for making the many links between J.D.'s lived experience and his writing, as well. I feel I came to know Salinger intimately, feeling his pain, and seeing how it played out in destructive and creative ways.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Slow, Slow Slow

    I had thought I had ordered the audiobook, but when the hard copy arrived, I thought I would try to read it. I could not get past the first chapter. Having individuals give their opinion on the man, did nothing for me. I had wanted to see the movie, but after attempting to read the book, I will pass.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 4, 2013

    Please. This whole book seems like a retelling of Kenneth Slawen

    Please. This whole book seems like a retelling of Kenneth Slawenski's Salinger: A Life, which came out a few years ago and which was excellent. Nothing new. In fact, I would not be suprised if this author read his book first. JMO.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted September 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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