This book presents a compelling and disturbing first-hand look at Vladimir Putin's Russia, where "nothing is true," because everything is propaganda,This book presents a compelling and disturbing first-hand look at Vladimir Putin's Russia, where "nothing is true," because everything is propaganda, and where "everything is possible," because everything is corrupt. As an American in the age of Trump, I found Pomerantsev's anecdotal account to be especially distressing in light of the president's professed admiration for Putin. If you want an inside look at the type of political system and media environment that Trump apparently admires, read this book.
"This isn’t a country in transition but some sort of postmodern dictatorship that uses the language and institutions of democratic capitalism for authoritarian ends."
"The brilliance of this new type of authoritarianism is that instead of simply oppressing opposition, as had been the case with twentieth-century strains, it climbs inside all ideologies and movements, exploiting and rendering them absurd."...more
I’ve always been taken in by the impossibly romantic life of writers and artists in 1920s Paris — much like Owen Wilson’s character Gil in Woody AllenI’ve always been taken in by the impossibly romantic life of writers and artists in 1920s Paris — much like Owen Wilson’s character Gil in Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris.”
When I first read A Moveable Feast during my college English-major days, I discounted the “impossibly” modifier. In late-night conversations with like-minded friends, we talked seriously about the attractions of a life of “genteel poverty.”
Reading the book again now at, shall we say, a (hopefully) more mature time of life, I am still attracted by Hemingway’s descriptions of walking through the boulevards of Paris, writing in the cafés, taking the train to the south in the summer or the mountains for skiing in the winter. All on a few dollars from selling a magazine article!
But I also recognize that even Hemingway himself, writing some 35 years later, viewed those years in Paris as bittersweet, with both joys and, certainly, regrets. And we all know how his story was to end.
But I’m thankful that he wrote this memoir, providing this very subjective window into that particular time and place that was formative in his own life as a struggling, not-yet-famous writer and so central to the lives of numerous other writers and artists. I enjoyed reading about his relationships and encounters with Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and others. I like the sly humor with which he leavens even his most unflattering portraits. And I like his sweet descriptions of his love for his first wife Hadley and his enjoyment of their life together, as well as his regret at his stupidity in throwing it away.
For those who aspire to write, A Moveable Feast is intriguing in its portrayal of Hemingway's views on how to write and how to be a writer: the daily discipline (albeit romantic discipline) of writing in cafés, the value of writing “one true sentence,” the necessity of being true to yourself and your own work (rather than modifying stories for increased popularity, as Fitzgerald did).
I love Hemingway’s work and I love Paris, so I may be biased. But all in all, both times I’ve read it, I've enjoyed A Moveable Feast very much, and I recommend it....more
This is an entertaining and enjoyable memoir by a long-time insider at Simon & Schuster. The former chairman of the company's editorial board, autThis is an entertaining and enjoyable memoir by a long-time insider at Simon & Schuster. The former chairman of the company's editorial board, author Peter Schwed has comprehensive first-hand knowledge of the first sixty years of the company's history. The book successfully shares anecdotes and insights from that history, treating the reader to inside stories about the many people who were part of the S&S story, including founders Richard Simon and Max Schuster, early partner Leon Shimkin, and many more, on through the years to the Richard Snyder era. The pages of the book are graced by famous authors, editors, literary agents, and numerous others from all areas of the book publishing business. It's a gossipy tale at times, but never mean-spirited: Mr. Schwed seems to have sincere admiration for almost all the people with whom he worked or interacted at S&S.
As someone who worked briefly in book publishing and also has a bit of a connection to Simon & Schuster (although not during the time period covered in the book), I enjoyed the book very much. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the book publishing business or any aspect, really, of the literary world. Although the days are past when book publishing was considered a "gentleman's occupation" (with a fairly good representation by women too), the relative glamor of the business of those days still makes for a good story....more