• August 7, 2017

    Benjamin Moser

    More than a year ago, New York Review Classics announced that it would reissue Norman Podhoretz’s 1967 book Making It, with an introduction by critic and Susan Sontag biographer Benjamin Moser. When the new edition of Making It was published, however, it arrived with an introduction by Terry Teachout. Now, Moser explains why. Podhoretz is notorious for his shift from the radical left to the reactionary right, and in his introduction, Moser tried to show that even though he was interested in Making It, this did not amount to an endorsement of Podhoretz’s current political positions. “Podhoretz saw through this, of course. He was offended by the opening paragraphs, and angrily rejected the preface.

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author of Americanah, rereads Albert Speer’s Inside the Third Reich, a book she read as a child. “What could I, at the age of ten, have found so engaging in the memoir of a Nazi, Adolf Hitler’s de-facto No. 2 man?” Adichie asks. As she answers that question, she also finds how the book offers some lessons about the current political moment. “Hitler rose to power because he exploited in Germans that sense of what Speer called ‘personal unhappiness caused by the breakdown of the economy,’ which ‘was replaced by a frenzy that demanded victims.’ He turned history into a reservoir of resentments. And he spoke simply. Speaking simply, in this case, meant discarding complexity and disregarding truth.”

    On August 1, Karen Torres, a VP of marketing at the Hachette Publishing Group, embarked on a refreshingly old-fashioned campaign: She took twenty-six editors and publishers on a tour of independent bookstores in the Northeast. This wasn’t just to pitch forthcoming titles to booksellers. Torres wanted Hachette’s acquiring editors to learn from the experience—to have “an opportunity to get a sense of the marketplace.”

    At Publishers Weekly, Karin Roffman, the author of a new biography of John Ashbery, offers a list of the ten best Ashbery poems.

    Novelist Alexander Chee delves deep into the world of Patricia Highsmith’s character Tom Ripley. “A character like Ripley fascinates because he is one of those protagonists who doesn’t much change—the novel’s transformation is enacted inside the reader,” Chee writes. “You are the one who changes, confronted with the baroque moral surface of a murderer’s loneliness.”

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