Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Search of J. D. Salinger” as Want to Read:
In Search of J. D. Salinger
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In Search of J. D. Salinger

3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  399 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Ian Hamilton sets himself a tough challenge by attempting a biography of a writer best known for his hermitic nature and for not having published anything in the last 30 years. Hamilton romps briskly through Salinger's life employing an annoying device throughout by which he records the debates between himself and his "biographer alter ego". This half- hearted attempt to p ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published July 17th 1989 by Vintage (first published May 12th 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Search of J. D. Salinger, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In Search of J. D. Salinger

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
In addition to writing one of the most popular and beloved novels of all time (The Catcher in the Rye) along with a few more high-profile books, J.D. Salinger had written stories for widely read pubs including the New Yorker and Esquire and The Saturday Evening Post.

Notice in all of that I did not say that J.D. Salinger wrote these things and then lock them away in a vault unseen, or allow them to be published only in the most obscure high school newspapers where they would be guaranteed to rema
Jodi Kasten
I think that Hamilton's shame almost drowns out any useful or interesting information that may have been gained from reading this book. Salinger doesn't want to be found and there's nothing wrong with that.
Mervyn Whyte
Intermittently interesting. Not sure about the alter ego format.
Larry Bassett
I have a thing for J.D. Salinger and even I am not quite sure what that means. I wrote a paper about him in college that has little to recommend itself. I did append to the paper several short stories by Salinger that were published in The Saturday Evening Post in the 1940s. I painstakingly typed them out on my manual portable Hermes typewriter, probably on corraseable paper so I wouldn’t have to use white-out. The professor was not impressed. It did not jumpstart my writing or literary career. ...more
Oct 03, 2009 Longfellow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up because of Nick Hornby's Housekeeping vs. the Dirt, which I was browsing one evening, procrastinating more important responsibilities. "Housekeeping" is Hornby's journal of a year of book buying and reading. He spoke highly of Ian Hamilton, and I had recently gone through a Salinger phase, so I was ready to enjoy this for a couple of reasons.

Hamilton's detective style writing is fun and I suppose he covers pretty much what there is to know about Jerome David Salinger, the best n
Carl Rollyson
This is the book that made life difficult for biographers. Not that Ian Hamilton intended to do so. But his use of Salinger's letters became the tipping point for the reclusive author, who sued the biographer. In an unfortunate ruling Harold Baer virtually destroyed the idea of fair use for unpublished writing. Congress has since rectified the judge's decision but not before that decision had a chilling impact on the publishing industry. Hamilton turns his thwarted book into a kind of Search for ...more
Ho comprato questo libro per capire perchè Salinger si é ritirato a vita privata.
Ora l'ho capito. Ma, nonsotante questo, non sono riuscita ad apprezzare il libro per le troppe parti in cui i due biografi hanno supposto delle cose dell'autore e perchè troppo spesso si è cercato di capire chi dei personaggi narrati fosse Salinger.
Insomma mi stato utile capire il contesto storico e sociale in cui Salingere ha scritto, mi ha aiutato a capire come sono nati racconti e romanzi splendidi ma no, non mi
Feb 07, 2010 Joel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to own this but have lost it somewhere during 6 or 7 times I've moved in the last decade. This is really the only good biography of Salinger -- Paul Alexander's is all rumors and gossip, and the ones by literary critics are too hoity-toity. The final chapter is perhaps the most interesting.

A few choice quotes from the dust-jackets of the first editions of Salinger's books made me realize / reminded me just how much he actually did reveal about the autobiographical nature of his work. He a
Henry Withers
Sep 04, 2007 Henry Withers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a very interesting, if slightly frustrating biograpy of JD Salinger. I had tried to read one before which was very trite and boring - while it described Salinger's reclusiveness, it did not explore it or try to solve the mystery. That mystery solving what I liked about this book, however there is no Da Vinci Code-like Holy Grail lying in wait at the end, only some disappointing legal wranglings.
Le Paginestrappate

[...] Sono tanti i motivi per cui leggere In cerca di Salinger è stata un’esperienza… interessante. Sia per il fremito di sporcarsi le mani frugando nella vita di un “mito”, sia per l’emozione di riscoprire dettagli di opere amate. Ma soprattutto per le riflessioni che la lettura stimola. E il diritto al silenzio.
Texx Norman
Feb 13, 2011 Texx Norman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sadly Mr. Salinger is dead, but during life he was crazy about his privacy. When an unauthorized biography was in the works the author and THE AUTHOR had exchanges. When the courts ruled against him, the guy wrote a book about his efforts to write the book, and, as you can guess, a lot of the illegal manuscript ended up in this alternate version.
Sheldon Compton
Nov 14, 2014 Sheldon Compton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just love a good mystery. And even though it was another low moment for our judicial system, the section where they ask Salinger all those questions under oath about what he's been working on was just kind of amazing. Amazing and also sick-making at the same time. A fun book for Salinger fans, probably. I dug it anyways.
Terence Manleigh
Fascinating if frustrating. Hamilton's book is the memoir of a thwarted biographer, with the reclusive Mr. Salinger lurking behind the castle walls pouring down boiling oil.... The reader leaves the book more tantalized, if possible, than at the start.
James Eckert
Aug 19, 2014 James Eckert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book did a tremendous job making me feel sorry for Salinger. I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpts from his letters, but even more so Hamilton's own battle with the right and wrong of publishing this information. It's a real goodread!
Joshua Mark
A fascinating book. Says more about Hamilton than about Salinger but that's okay. A very interesting journey and, of course, the background to the court case which changed how scholars could use author's personal letters, documents, etc.
Sep 17, 2013 Mima rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The one good thing about this book is...
Nope, it is impossible to finish that sentence.
It shouldn't have been published, it shouldn't be read.
Sean Condon
Apr 17, 2013 Sean Condon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific book.
Oct 01, 2012 Bec rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great despite the problems the author had including the material he would have liked to. Loved it.
Aug 27, 2008 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will describe this a an interesting little book. I find anything about J.D. Salinger interesting.
LOL Salinger is painfully crotchety.
Thank you, Ian Hamilton.
Davide Rubini
Dec 05, 2015 Davide Rubini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The score is high because Ian did exactly what for years I have been dreaming to do and that now csnnot be done no more. A book that brings Salinger the man out of the legend
Aug 02, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
J.D. Salinger is one weird dude. He seems like a real manipulative jerk, but I still love his writing.
Mark McKenny
May 30, 2015 Mark McKenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felt like I was cheating reading this, but loved it all the same. I'll never grow tired of reading about one of my favourite authors.
Dec 24, 2008 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sep 25, 2014 Dot rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Disappointing. Little about JDS, a lot about the author and his imaginary sidekick. Shows Salinger really could control information about himself.
Amy Lackpour
Amy Lackpour rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2011
Brian S. Wise
Brian S. Wise rated it liked it
Aug 07, 2011
Thomas Armstrong
Thomas Armstrong rated it liked it
Apr 06, 2013
Chavi rated it did not like it
Jan 18, 2012
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dream Catcher: A Memoir
  • Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime
  • Robert Frost: A Life
  • Errata: An Examined Life
  • T.S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life
  • My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson
  • Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life
  • Hemingway: The Final Years
  • City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara
  • Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams
  • The Trick of It
  • A Whole New Life: An Illness and a Healing
  • T.S. Eliot
  • An Angel At My Table (Autobiography, #2)
  • Ted Hughes: The Life of a Poet
  • Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch
  • The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers
  • George, Being George: George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals--and a Few Unappreciative ...
Robert Ian Hamilton was a British literary critic, reviewer, biographer, poet, magazine editor and publisher.

He was born in King's Lynn, Norfolk. His parents were Scottish and had moved to Norfolk in 1936. Hamilton's father died when he was 13. The family moved to Darlington in 1951 and there at age 17 in sixth form at school Hamilton produced two issues of his own magazine, which was called The S
More about Ian Hamilton...

Share This Book