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Ex-Friends: Falling Out With Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt, and Norman Mailer -- all are ex-friends of Norman Podhoretz, the renowned editor and critic and leading member of the group of New York intellectuals who came to be known as "the Family." As only a family member could, Podhoretz tells the story of these friendships, once central to his life, and sho ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 13th 2001 by Free Press (first published February 21st 1999)
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This book is a shameless account of the author's boundless self-interest and compulsive back-stabbing. He left the "Left" because he'd betrayed everyone in it. I did, however, enjoy his writing. His reasoning was erroneous and his lack of self-awareness distasteful; but the writing was okay.
May 23, 2008 Bart rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers who think dinner party invitations mean they've arrived
This was a very interesting book by a man who began as a prodigy of literary criticism, forsook literature and most of his friends and went on to become a founder of the movement that is, today, most commonly called “Neo-Conservatism” – those ghoulish, and influential, “Neocons” you hear so much about. But Podhoretz is, by his own constant admission, so much smarter than those who would unfavorably judge him that by the end of his life, just like at the end of this book, things will have worked ...more
Bathsheva Gladstone
First off, the only reason I picked up this book, was the fact, some blurb somewhere about this book, made mention of Allen Ginsberg. I came for Ginsberg and got so much more.

Ex-Friends offers us a look at a by-gone era, of a time when friends got together, attended parties and discussed meaningful things such as politics and literature. Norman Podhoretz recalls a time when he as a young man, smart, intellectual and perhaps more than a tad opportunistic, was adopted into The Family, a group of
Bob Wake
[Reviewed in 1999]

The quickest test of whether or not Norman Podhoretz’s memoir Ex-Friends might appeal to you is by your level of interest in the controversy that erupted over Elia Kazan’s honorary Oscar at last year’s Academy Awards. If you were intrigued by the rancorous political arguments that resurfaced after 50 years, then Podhoretz’s memoir will undoubtedly feel like a front-row ticket to the bickering of a half-century ago.

Podhoretz is today a staunch political conservative; he was one
Tommy Powell
I have begun reading Podhoretz' new biography and I (of course) came across a few references to this work. So...
I it is an easy and quick read -Podhoretz's prose is among the best I've come across- and full of wonderful details about Lionel Trilling (first time I'd heard of him...), Lillian Hellman, Hannah Arendt (completely changed my idea of her) and Norman Mailer (justified my disregard for both the man and his writing).

One of the best aspects of this book, for me, is the insight I gained int
An interesting account of the political divergence of a group of New York, mainly-Jewish intellectuals from a common bond of liberalism in the 1940's to personal grudges and stark political differences. Perhaps the book's most important contribution is the extent to which it strips the mantel of sainthood off of Lillian Hellman and portrays her as a mediocre intellect whose main contribution to literature came through the considerable writing skill of her drunken-sot of a boy friend, Dashiel Ham ...more
Although he is quick to criticize and tear apart his ex-friends and their beliefs, he never really gets to the crux of why he changed his mind so completely and reversed course in his political views. His adoration of Reagan is nauseating, as is his belief that the "military-industrial complex" is not a problem, but Communism is. His ideas sound so dated, this man has most certainly outlived the validity of his beliefs but is too old and crotchety to see it or admit it.
I for one am very glad thi
This book could have been so much more. An account of a leading conservative fighting with his liberal friends, all of them household names (if your household is made up of eggheads) could have been riveting. Instead it is about as unilluminating as it is possible for such a book to get. Podhoretz's account is far too general and abstract to be interesting: he almost never cites a specific argument or incident which led to a falling out, merely giving us a hindsight harangue about how much he al ...more
Aug 21, 2014 Corey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The author seems so insufferable I might just have to read this.
Amazed that as a 60s teenager I knew who these people were he wrote about, the triumph of The Saturday Review and library I suppose. The perspective is certainly New York City Jewish from Columbia to the literary/political world that circled around various influencers. Saw an archive CSPAN interview of Podhoretz.
As one of those perfectly normal, boring low to middlebrow people with whom Podhoretz doesn't deign to associate, I enjoyed this window into the stories of people in whom I have only a purient interest. I was less enamored with his moralistic struggles of who deserves credit or blame for what.
although I hate his politics, I loved the concept of "ex-friends" - gentle and touching, this old goat remembers well. better than he deserves.
Revealing look into the minds of the Jewish intelligentsia in NY. Helps assess neocon behaviour...
too much old-fashioned sniping
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