by David Shields, Shane Salerno
3.3 18


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Salinger by David Shields, Shane Salerno



Raised in Park Avenue privilege, J. D. Salinger sought out combat, surviving five bloody battles of World War II, and out of that crucible he created a novel, The Catcher in the Rye, which journeyed deep into his own despair and redefined postwar America.

For more than fifty years, Salinger has been one of the most elusive figures in American history. All of the attempts to uncover the truth about why he disappeared have been undermined by a lack of access and the recycling of inaccurate information. In the course of a nine-year investigation, and especially in the three years since Salinger’s death, David Shields and Shane Salerno have interviewed more than 200 people on five continents (many of whom had previously refused to go on the record) to solve the mystery of what happened to Salinger.

Constructed like a thriller, this oral biography takes you into Salinger’s private world for the first time, through the voices of those closest to him: his World War II brothers-in-arms, his family, his friends, his lovers, his classmates, his editors, his New Yorker colleagues, his spiritual advisors, and people with whom he had relationships that were secret even to his own family. Their intimate recollections are supported by more than 175 photos (many never seen before), diaries, legal records, and private documents that are woven throughout; in addition, appearing here for the first time, are Salinger’s “lost letters”—ranging from the 1940s to 2008, revealing his intimate views on love, literature, fame, religion, war, and death, and providing a raw and revelatory self-portrait.

Salinger published his last story in 1965 but kept writing continuously until his death, locked for years inside a bunker in the woods, compiling manuscripts and filing them in a secret vault. Was he a genius who left the material world to focus on creating immaculate art or a haunted recluse, lost in his private obsessions? Why did this writer, celebrated by the world, stop publishing? Shields and Salerno’s investigation into Salinger’s epic life transports you from the bloody beaches of Normandy, where Salinger landed under fire, carrying the first six chapters of The Catcher in the Rye . . . to the hottest nightclub in the world, the Stork Club, where he romanced the beautiful sixteen-year-old Oona O’Neill until she met Charlie Chaplin . . . from his top-secret counterintelligence duties, which took him to a subcamp of Dachau . . . to a love affair with a likely Gestapo agent whom he married and brought home to his Jewish parents’ Park Avenue apartment and photographs of whom appear here for the first time . . . from the pages of the New Yorker, where he found his voice by transforming the wounds of war into the bow of art . . . to the woods of New Hampshire, where the Vedanta religion took over his life and forced his flesh-and-blood family to compete with his imaginary Glass family.

Deepening our understanding of a major literary and cultural figure, and filled with many fascinating revelations— including the birth defect that was the real reason Salinger was initially turned down for military service; the previously unknown romantic interest who was fourteen when Salinger met her and, he said, inspired the title character of “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor”; the first photographs ever seen of Salinger at war and the last known photos of him alive; never-before-published love letters that Salinger, at fifty-three, wrote to an eighteen-year-old Joyce Maynard; and, finally, what millions have been waiting decades for: the contents of his legendary vault—Salinger is a monumental book about the cost of war and the cost of art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476744834
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 09/03/2013
Pages: 720
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.10(d)

About 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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Salinger 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Brian-Allard More than 1 year ago
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.
HopeLife More than 1 year ago
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.
JiffyPopYumYum More than 1 year ago
An absolutely brilliant account of the life and career of J.D. Salinger!
SarahMcClurg More than 1 year ago
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!
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Skidrow82 More than 1 year ago
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.
MarienicollBetaIN More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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mitchiko More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why would anyone be interested ? If you must get it from the library pictures dont do well on nook page counter
MornDew247 More than 1 year ago
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.