George, Being George: George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals--and a Few Unappreciative ...
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George, Being George: George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals--and a Few Unappreciative ...

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Norman Mailer said that George Plimpton was the best-loved man in New York. For more than fifty years, his friends made a circle whose circumference was vast and whose center was a fashionable tenement on New York’s East Seventy-second street. Taxi drivers, hearing his address, would ask, “Isn’t that George Plimpton’s place?” George was always giving parties for his friend...more
Hardcover, 423 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Random House (first published January 1st 2008)
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Bound - Miami SunPost

Nov. 20, 2008

A Gentleman Among Men

George Plimpton Was All That and Then Some

By John Hood

George Plimpton and I first met at his Manhattan home back in ’90 or ’91 when he hosted a wedding reception for then Paris Review Senior Editor Fayette Hickox. I was just coming into my ego then and still a bit reticent around celebrity, but Plimpton made me feel immediately welcome into his world. That his world consisted of every 20th century wri...more
This oral biography of George Plimpton has the feel of a chat over drinks with friends of a celebrity. You hear lots of great anecdotes, get some sense of what it must have been like to know him, but don't run into a lot of deeply considered evaluations.

He comes across as starting out a life of incredible privilege (cocktails with young Jackie Bouvier, dinner with Princess Elizabeth of England)and then stumbling into publishing The Paris Review because his literary friends from college thought h...more
In this oral history/hagiography of George Plimpton, we are treated to over-the-top antics of the patron saint of Upper East Side privilege. At times the breathless tone seems overblown, given that his three miracles appear to be:

1. Being born rich
2. Being born well-connected
3. Being not quite as snobbish as someone that rich and well-connected typically is.

It's hard to talk about a book like this and not make it a referendum on the subject. I hope my complaints are more about the book itself t...more
Casey Logan
loved it. this will sound like a complaint (though it's quite the opposite): after reading 300+ pages full of thoughts by the people who seemed to have known him best (including the two women he married), he's still an enigma. amazingly approachable and yet totally unknowable; remarkably warm and yet oddly cold in certain circumstances. loved it.
Mark Feltskog
I remember the "Paper Lion" special on television as well as George Plimpton's amusing guest appearance ("I'll go back to doing whatever it is that I do") on "The Simpsons." I've always found him an appealing and sympathetic figure, so I suppose I was predisposed to like this. Nonetheless, it is a fine book, and well worth a read.
As I read this book, I was reminded of James Thurber's Walter Mitty who escaped the boredom of his life and the miseries of his marriage by imagining himself in all sorts of situations that are far more exciting and (especially) much more glamorous. Having an equally active imagination, George also proceeded to do (or at least attempt to do) whatever seemed like "fun" while living an already exciting and glamorous life that included relationships with those who share their reminiscences and obse...more
A terrific recounting of a life richly lived but always wanting, George Being George is structured as an oral history of George Plimpton's life. Rather than take the form of a traditional narrative, the book is a collection of brief anecdotes, observations and snippets harvested from interviews with Plimpton's friends and associates from his youth on the Upper East Side, to his New England schooling, the founding of the Paris Review, the assasination of Bobby Kennedy and Plimpton's growing celeb...more
Ok. I really really wanted to love this. Have always been a big fan of Plimpton the writer as well as Plimpton the raconteur, Plimpton "the brand"...but sad to say this book just did not grab me at fact i was only able to get about two thirds of the way through it (if that) before giving up. It mostly had to do with the way it was put together...brief one or two paragraph recollections on a variety of topics from various (dozens) former colleagues, co-workers, friends, lovers, spouses,...more
Ryan Chapman
We all know a word cannot be defined by reiterating the word itself: "Confusing? That's when you're, you know, confused about something." This same idea is why this is a thrilling biography. Some will see it as its main weakness, but for this reader it's its strongest suit. Let me explain.

Two of the most common phrases in this oral biography of blue-blood Paris Review editor and bon vivant George Plimpton are, "George was George," and "That was just George, being George," as if adjectives wou...more
It's compulsively readable, of course, given the people that Plimpton knew (Ric Burns floats in for a one-shot statement, for example). What it doesn't really do is establish why he was important to anyone but his friends, since it really doesn't establish the Paris Review's place in literary history --- it sounds more like a Mickey/Judy "let's put out a magazine!" project. I was flabbergasted by the list of books Plimpton wrote at the end, most of which aren't mentioned at all. And while it is...more
I read this because I'm interested in people living more fulfilling and memorable lives, and Plimpton certainly belongs to that group. Growing up, I mostly knew him as the WASPy sounding Coleco pitchman and actor, and was unaware of the extent of his accomplishments, which include boxing with world champions, wrestling the gun out of Sirhan Sirhan's hands, and setting off a myriad of illegal fireworks.

I loved the "oral biography" format - a more multifaceted approach than you can achieve when al...more
I enjoyed this collection of comments about Plimpton, whom I didn't know all that much about. But the book is not very well organized; chapters are ostensibly chronological, but the editor deviates from that a lot. In the chapter on the 70s, I was confused when one writer mentioned cell phones, until I realized that he worked at the Paris Review in the late 90s. After that, I noticed a lot of comments that seemed to be in the wrong place, which was distracting. Still, it's an interesting first t...more
Diverting in its way. You come to understand that Plimpton was who he seemed to be; an old style WASP who had a pathological need for company. Somehow though nothing terrible comes down about him, I liked him much less after reading it than before. Ditto on Peter Mathieson who somehow manages to come off as snarky, passive-aggressive and mean-spirited towards Plimpton with every quote. Not sure it adds up to anything, maybe the presentation of a life that had genuine literary promise and degener...more
Josh Frost
George Plimpton was a real life Walter Mitty -- if Walter Mitty had actually did all the things he dreamed of doing. Whether wrestling with Sirhan Sirhan after the assassination of RFK, or playing a game with the Detroit Lions, or pitching baseballs to major league hitters, George did it all. Makes you wish you could have spent an evening with him. (Sounds like he wasn't an easy person to be married to though).
This is not a conventional biography by any means. It is written in the style that Plimpton himself used to write/edit his life stories on Capote and Edie Sedgwick. By allowing the interviewees to speak for themselves, more is revealed about Plimpton than would be in a straight chronological narative. Enlightening, funny, sad and complicated - much like the man himself. It was a "good read."
An oddly organized, but very readable, biography of George Plimpton. Presented in "oral history" format, including entries from ex-wives, rivals, literati, and friends. Plimpton ran in the most exlusive of circles - but was revealed to be a very lonely man. An interesting look at the world of American publishing in the secod half of the 20th century.
I certainly grew up knowing about George Plimpton, but before reading this I don't think I fully appreciated the scope of his literary reach. The book details the start of the Paris Review, Plimpton's extensive network of famous friends, the parties Plimpton threw, and the evolution of the New York literary world. This is a fun, breezy read.
George Plimpton was an interesting fellow, but this book was too boring for me to finish. It's a collection of funny memories George's wealthy, self-indulgent friends have regarding George.
The NYT Book Review suggested that George Plimpton was the American version of Nick Jenkins — Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time protagonist. I couldn't resist and thoroughly enjoyed this.
Everything you wanted to know about George Plimpton, but really didn't care to know. If anything, it made me want to explore George's other writings, especially Paper Lion.
AdultNonFiction Teton County Library
I think the title says it all. I find George a bit fascinating and anyone who does will find this a very satisfying read.
the problem with this type of book is that you tend to not like the person as much as when you started the book.
Friends, relatives, and acquaintances reccount tales and impressions of this legendary waspy archetype.
Drew Raley
Fluffy gossip as shallow and blithely reckless as its subject. Nothing if not mid-drawer bathroom reading.
Nathan Rabin
Utterly motherfucking delightful. The next best thing to chillaxing with the man himself.
Michael Borshuk
A delightful oral history of one of the great literary lives of the 20th century. A real pleasure.
Great history of the founding of the Paris Review and New York literary scene in the 1970's.
5 stars for George himself, but only 3 stars for a pretty lightweight read. Carry the one...
A nice look at the literary world of the 1950s and the birth of the Paris Review
This was interesting, but maybe not as well done as George would have done it himself.
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