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Lives and Letters

3.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  15 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The product of a lifetime immersed in the literary, performing arts, and entertainment worlds, Lives and Letters spotlights the work, careers, intimate lives, and lasting achievements of a vast array of celebrated writers and performers in film, theater, and dance, and some of the more curious iconic public figures of our times.

From the world of literature, Charles Dickens
ebook, 448 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Aug 02, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The author is a former editor of "The New Yorker" magazine, among many other accomplishments.
Mr Gottlieb's writing and acute perceptions kept me engrossed throughout.

One essay in particular on the French child poetess, Minou Drouet, who was famous throughout the world as a prodigy, is moving and troubling. Questions arose as to the authenticity of the poetry. Her mother was suspected of being the author, and many pronounced Minou a fraud. A test was devised.

The little child was required to wri
Jun 05, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from Goodreads Giveaway and have had such fun picking it up at various times and entering the world of many notable people....James Thurber,Mae West,Harry Houdini, royalty,etc. Robert Gottlieb's collection of essays written at different times in his life is very well written. I found him very wise and entertaining. I continue to think about his subjects and their influence on cultures even after finishing the book. I love when a book does that to me!
Jul 01, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, requesting it somewhat on a whim. Overall, I'm glad I did. It's a somewhat strange book to try to review, as it is largely a collection of previously published material on divergent subjects, much of which is very short in length. Robert Gottlieb, who has served as editor in chief of both Simon and Schuster and Alfred A. Knopf publishing, as well as spending time as editor of "The New Yorker," is a sharp and engaging writer whose expertise in his fie ...more
Jul 29, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As one would expect from an editor (The New Yorker, Scribner's, other major publishers) this collection of short pieces (mostly 4-7 pages) is superbly written. (Gottlieb complains of sloppy writing and gives examples. I applaud!) Each piece is a review of one or more biographies of the piece's subject. They range from Rudolph Valentino, Isadora Duncan, Douglas Fairbanks, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Porfirio Rubirosa, Katharine Hepburn, the Windsors, and Elia Kazan, to James Thurber, Rudyard Kipli ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This man has put together quite an astonishing range of short biographies and little odes to some fabulous people. Reading each one is a task I couldn't do.

I got a free advanced copy from and I read most of it. Each little part pours out a little bit of heart and soul. I have to admit I skipped around to the bios of people I knew and of those I was interested in.

Not all together a bad book but it's mostly a table sitter, not a page turner. The point wasn't to create great little b
Sep 12, 2013 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recycled book reviews and a snippy but poor polemic against Renata Adler's New Yorker book.

A couple of examinations (exhumations?) of former literary great men, Thurber and Steinbeck of some interest to those of us of a certain age.

You'll be kicking yourself in the ass if you bought it and wasting your time if you got it from the library.
Joseph Dispenza
Aug 10, 2011 Joseph Dispenza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's wonderful. Some of the entries are not as good as others -- I could have done without Houdini and Ana May Wong, but even their profiles had some interest. He's just a very, very good writer, and has a huge wealth of information stored up in him. The best so far, and I'm almost at the end, are Sarah Bernhardt and George S. Kaufman.
Aug 07, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i really enjoyed this books summaries. i though they were very well written, i also enjoyed the variety of pieces in the book
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Robert Gottlieb has been the editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker. He is the author of Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhard, George Balanchine: The Ballet Maker, Lives and Letters (FSG, 2011), and Great Expectations and is the dance critic for The New York Observer.
More about Robert Gottlieb...

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