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The Years with Ross

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  347 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
At the helm of America's most influential literary magazine for more than half a century, Harold Ross introduced the country to a host of exciting talent, including Robert Benchley, Alexander Woolcott, Ogden Nash, Peter Arno, Charles Addams, and Dorothy Parker. But no one could have written about this irascible, eccentric genius more affectionately or more critically than ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 26th 2000 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published 1959)
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Lisa Kramer Taruschio
Aug 08, 2010 Lisa Kramer Taruschio rated it it was amazing
Ross, the Algonquin Round Table and all the gang--great, legendary NY lore. Love Dorothy Parker, Benchley. My favorite thing of Thurber's, and one of my favorite and funniest stories ever, is Thurber's 'The Night the Bed Fell'. It's become a sort of family classic. My mom read it to me when I was little and I howled with laughter; read it to my own daughter when she was little and she too loves it. I also teach the story (American English, American humor).
Jimmy Slattery
May 24, 2009 Jimmy Slattery rated it it was amazing
If he had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent Harold Ross and some New Yorker staffers such as E.B. and Katherine White felt Thurber did. Whether he misrepresented Ross, this remains a brilliantly funny biography and as much about Thurber as it is about the founder of the New Yorker. Read it first as a young teen and more than several times since - Ross has always stuck in my mind, his endless search for the Jesus who would instill order into the running of the magazine, his doom ...more
Will
Jul 09, 2013 Will rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
James Thurber was a humorist who wrote for the New Yorker. Harold Ross, eccentric founder and longtime editor for New Yorker, was known for micromanaging, obsessiveness with grammar/usage, and for his blustering tirades. This book is about their interactions, which were often colorful, as well as the other figures surrounding the early days of the magazine. I recognized only a small fraction of the many names mentioned throughout the book, but still enjoyed reading about these eccentric, lovable ...more
Erich
Nov 15, 2013 Erich rated it it was amazing
An essential book for every (particularly nonfiction) writer or person who cares about how good writing is produced, written by one of the masters. Laugh out loud moments as well as incisive comments on American writing, editing and publishing as it developed through the New Yorker in the mid 20th Century. Every few years, I dip into this book and once again become smitten with its sentences.
John Baur
May 03, 2016 John Baur rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite book. Ever. Funny, and fascinating characters. Like the story about the New Yorker staffer who came int the office agog with the news that he had sen Ross tobogganing over the weekend. "You're kidding!" was the response. "What did he look like?" The guy thought, then said, "Well, you know what he looks like *not* tobogganing."
Rita
Oct 14, 2013 Rita rated it really liked it
James Thurber. From an era where people spoke their minds in articulate, concrete ways, and not for oneupmanship. Refreshing, intoxicating, real. A must read for any New Yorker fan, or one fascinated by imperfect starts made on unknown grounds of awkward greatness.
Valerie
I think this is the edition I have, although I have one with a dustcover. The dustcover has protected the book proper, though it's taken a beating itself.

This book is sadly in need of an index. For example, I wanted to check when Chas Addams began publishing his cartoons in the New Yorker--but in order to find it, I had to read straight through. I knew roughly when it was--but I still couldn't flip through to the right point. I just had to wait 'til I got to it.

If you're in any doubt that this w
...more
William
Jul 01, 2015 William rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book, and I gather from the reviews that almost everyone else has found it deeply satisfying. I am a great fan of "The New Yorker," and have read it all my life. I grew up with people connected with the magazine and several of my elementary school classmates have written for it. And a large number of the people referred to are names with which I am familiar.

Maybe that's the problem. I hoped to know more about this amazing cast of characters, but there are few anecdot
...more
Stephen
Feb 24, 2012 Stephen rated it it was amazing
I got this book for a snip - an old paperback version - and I laughed so much - Ross was certainly someone - a character. You must read this because it gives you a great insight into the magazine world and writing.
Bill Mcmurray
Mar 12, 2012 Bill Mcmurray rated it it was amazing
I've read it three times. One of my favorite books.
Dan
Jan 13, 2016 Dan rated it liked it
I'm a fan of Thurber's work, and this has some good stories about the founder of "The New Yorker." It's definitely from its time, which is both a strength and a weakness. Some of the references require a bit of research, but the style of the writing is wonderful and the feel of the period makes one nostalgic for an era that was actually before my time. (I wonder - is that even possible? Or am I just enamored with the idea of living that life in that place with those people?)
Olivia Woods
Feb 29, 2016 Olivia Woods rated it liked it
While reading this was part of a class assignment, I'm glad I did. Thurber's account of his boss, compatriot, and friend reveals the delicate and completely neurotic and anal tendencies of a timid genius who steered THE NEW YORKER to brilliance, time and again. It gave me a new appreciation of the tone and quality of the magazine, and the changes, adaptations, and ideas that went into making it what it is today. Thanks, Ross.
Chris Gager
Feb 13, 2014 Chris Gager rated it really liked it
Another one just remembered. I wonder how many more are lost up there in the dusty shelves of memory? I think my mother gave me this back in the day. Date read is a wild guess. I got my New Yorker habit from her even though she wasn't much of an intellectual or anything. Neither am I for that matter. I just love to read about stuff. I haven't been without a subscription for long since I've got put of the Navy in '69. Good Job Harold!
George Siehl
Interesting insights into the origin and first quarter-century of New Yorker magazine, especially
the role and personality of founder and editor in chief, Harold W. Ross. The author, James Thurber, served during most of this period as an editor, writer, and artist. Many anecdotes about the writers and artists who contributed to the magazine during those years.
Sherri
Jun 13, 2014 Sherri rated it it was amazing
If you are a writer or editor and/or a fan of the New Yorker, I highly recommend The Years with Ross by James Thurber. One of the best books I have ever read. A witty and beautifully rendered portrait of Harold Ross by someone who loved him dearly. God bless Ross and Thurber both.
Ellen
Sep 01, 2013 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by the wonderful American humorist and illustrator, James Thurber, this account of Thurber's experience working with Ross at the New Yorker magazine presents not only a vivid picture of Ross himself but also describes what it was like to work at the New York offices of the magazine during Ross' stint as editor. From its inception until Ross' premature death, Thurber helps the reader feel as though she were a part of the staff, being forced to sit through "art" meetings, bored to death if ...more
David
Feb 12, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite memoirs, right up there with Moss Hart's ACT ONE and HARPO SPEAKS. I've been re-reading this book every ten years or so since high school.
Peggy
Dec 29, 2015 Peggy rated it really liked it
Thurber's writing never disappoints, and this book is no exception.
However, with the inevitable passage of time, the book has become dated, a bit anachronistic. He mentions scores of people who were titans during his era (Thirties, Forties I'm thinking, mostly), but those people are seldom heard of today - with the notable exception of Dorothy Parker who will prob never go out of style!
Years with Ross (a very odd duck, esp for editor of such a magazine as The New Yorker) was a pleasure, but it's
...more
Valerie
Truth be known, I'm not sure how much of this I read. I went through a period when I read a lot of Thurber, and I think much of what I know about Ross comes from this book--but maybe not. I think there was at least one essay in another of Thurber's books which was seedstock of this book.

While going through my back reading material (It do pile up, don't it?), I encountered a review from Punch about this book, so I must have meant to search out a copy at some time. I'll put it with the other revi
...more
C. James
Feb 20, 2014 C. James rated it it was amazing
A great read. Life at THE NEW YORKER as it used to was before it became simply another magazine.
Daniel
Jan 25, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it
I loved reading Thurber's humor essays and stories when I was younger but wasn't much interested in his memoirs of working with Harold Ross at the New Yorker. Now years later, being a writer myself, I found it a warm and entertaining accounting of working at the magazine along side such giants as Robert Benchley, E. B. White, Wolcott Gibbs, and many others. Most enjoyable even if it is far from the definitive book on the subject.
Magdalen Bresee
Sep 27, 2014 Magdalen Bresee rated it it was ok
Incredibly boring. I can only remember about 1/3 of it.
R.K. Cowles
3 1/2 stars
RuthAnn
Dec 27, 2015 RuthAnn rated it really liked it
Would recommend: Yes

Ah, my continuing education on The New Yorker continues with this Thurber work. I loved it. Reading Thurber is like reading the genesis of my mom's sense of humor, and as an extension, mine. I would laugh aloud, then read the line, and get blank stares in response. Whatever! I didn't recognize all of the names he dropped, but it was fun to re-enter the world of the magazine. It almost makes me want to subscribe to it, even though I know I can't keep up with it.
Tosh
Dec 14, 2007 Tosh rated it it was amazing
James Thurber's great memoir about his boss during the classic years of The New Yorker Magazine - a magazine by the way that I don't read! Nevertheless I am fascinated with anything that deals with publishing or editing - and there are a quite a few funny and interesting stories among these pages. Thurber is someone I want to check out more intensely.
Joy H.
Nov 06, 2009 Joy H. marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
From Writer's Almanac (for Nov. 6, 2009) online:
http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/
"A new edition of James Thurber's _The Years with Ross_ (replete with Thurber's illustrations) was released in 2001." "...in 1957 he published a biographical memoir called _The Years with Ross_."

Harold Ross was the first editor of The New Yorker magazine.
Kris Veches
Feb 11, 2013 Kris Veches rated it really liked it
The New Yorker is my absolute favorite magazine. I don't really read magazines, but I read The New Yorker. This book is written by James Thurber, a very close friend of Harold Ross, the man who started The New Yorker. There are parts of the book that were slow, but overall, it was an enjoyable and humorous tribute from one friend to another.
Dolores
Oct 31, 2007 Dolores rated it liked it
There's a lot about Thurber in this book, but by the end I felt like I had a clear sense of the amazing person Harold Ross was. I'm not sure I got all the jokes, maybe because there was some New Yorker insider humor, or because a lot of them were about people and places in the first half of the 20th century.
Susan
Jan 03, 2013 Susan added it
I actually have an older edition, from a used bookstore in the town where I went to college. I was in awe of The New Yorker and anyone associated with it then. For good reason. Great book. I reread it as part of my new year's resolution to read what's on the selves for awhile instead of buying new books.
Catalina
Jan 06, 2016 Catalina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Amazing book; couldn't put it down. In entertaining and fine prose, Thurber paints a moving picture of Ross. I was previously uneducated in The New Yorker, its philosophy, history, and founder, but this book opened a door into that world and I don't think I can close it! Beautiful.
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Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio to Charles L. Thurber and Mary Agnes (Mame) Fisher Thurber. Both of his parents greatly influenced his work. His father, a sporadically employed clerk and minor politician who dreamed of being a lawyer or an actor, is said to have been the inspiration for the small, timid protagonist typical of many of his stories. Thurber described his mother as a "born comedien ...more
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