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Max Perkins: Editor of Genius

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,368 ratings  ·  245 reviews
The National Book Award winner from the #1 New York Times bestselling author, A. Scott Berg.

The talents he nurtured as an editor were known worldwide: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and numerous others. But Maxwell Perkins remained a mystery, a backstage presence who served these authors not only as book editor extraordinaire but also as critic, car
Kindle Edition, 512 pages
Published (first published 1978)
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,368 ratings  ·  245 reviews

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Violet wells
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this about twelve years ago when I was enamoured with Scott and Zelda and harboured ambitions myself of becoming an editor. Max Perkins discovered Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Tom Wolfe, among others and was their editor and friend. This is a fabulous biography of a truly admirable man and editor and a wonderful period in American letters (lots of great anecdotes about Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Wolfe). Last night I watched the film Genius about Perkins' relationship with Thomas Wolfe a ...more
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am definitely one of those people who can't not finish a book, no matter how distasteful I find it to be, if it is work of fiction. Nonfiction, on the other hand, I tend to find really fascinating but less engaging and I usually end up getting distracted by a new novel while attempting to read history, biography, philosophy or theory. A. Scott Berg's biography of Max Perkins, though, is such an insightful, lyrical, and just plain fun work that I found myself as deeply engrossed as I would be i ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Писането и леко хаотичната подредба на събитията на места са за 4 звезди.
Но тематиката, ах, тематиката свири виртуозно по най-тънките струнки на душата ми.
Така че 5 звезди от мен, обективността да върви по дяволите!
Michael Perkins
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Perkins told one of his daughters, “The greatest feeling is to go to bed tired.” Bedtime had always been Perkins’s favorite time of day, those few minutes just before falling asleep when he could “steer his dreams.” In those final moments of wakefulness Maxwell Perkins recurringly transported himself back to Russia in 1812— the scene of his favorite book, War and Peace. Night after night his mind filled with visions of Napoleon’s army retreating from Moscow in the frost and early winter snow. O ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ура! Бавно се чете, но е много важна и полезна книга, за всеки, който обича литературата. Бърг е хвърлил огромен труд и направил точно това, което Макс Пъркинс заслужава - една голяма и хубава книга.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story that is about the authors of Max Perkins as much as it is a biography of Perkins himself. I think the book would be of interest to anyone who enjoys biography, but it's also an important read for writers, editors, and students of writing and literature.

As for me, the nature of biography is to cover absurd amounts of information, and this biography's nature was especially complicated due to the fact that Perkins lived through his authors and so their stories must be told to el
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers, readers, and Berg fans
Shelves: to-re-read
This biography was incredible. Berg is my favorite biographer. He made the life of a bookish editor interesting, and he not only taught me about Perkin's life, but about how an editor can forge an intense relationship with a writer, taking that writer's talent and focusing it and nurturing his writing so that what emerges is a great American novel. Perkins did this for F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby, Thomas Wolf's You Can't Go Home Again, and many other classic American authors. After ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Тази би0графия е изпълнена с живота на толкова силни (Ърнест Хемингуей), съдържателни (Скот Фицджералд), вдъхновяващи личности (Томас Улф), че на корицата й трябва да има предупреждение: "Внимание: рискувате да изгубите собствената си самоличност в битието на Максуел Пъркинс".

Страхотна книга. Страхотна работа на А. Скот Бърг. Успя да ме пренесе в друго време, да ме запознае с друг свят, с други герои и злодеи, различаващи се от днешния.
Христо Блажев
Геният-звероукротител Макс Пъркинс:

Тази книга я приемам лично. Защото е посветена на човек, за когото само бях чувал бегло, но не знаех какъе еталон е в професията, която съм избрал за свое житейско поприще. Той не е точно “геният” от името на филма и българското издание, оригиналното име е “Макс Пъркинс: Редакторът на гении”, но в своята област определено е човек, достоен за това определение. Защото мнозина с лекота биха казали, че той свети с отразена с
Mientras Leo
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Supongoq ue a todos los lectores nos interesan este tipo de publicaciones, es imposible no sentirse atraído
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Masterful. Everything a literary biography should be. Plenty of supported facts to provide a skeleton and just enough speculation to round out the bony frame without bloating it with wildly improbable and exploitative conjecture. It came as little surprise to learn that A. Scott Berg was a student of Carlos Baker.

It has taken me a long time to get around to learning about the man who was instrumental to the successful careers of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. He is quietly fascinating and I was very
Mahmoud Elnaeem
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bibliography about thomas wolfe , who is genius inspired the works of many other authors and also inspired me in different way. he do incredible efforts in writing.
Unfortunately , this greatest man is not famous as deserve
Dec 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: biolovers
A great biography about one of the unsung heroes of modernist literature. Although Perkins is the most famous fiction editor in known history (sorry, Gordon Lish), little about his personal life and character was widely known before Berg's eminently readable bio. Perkins was a Victorian through and through, so he can come off as a little stodgy, but he was devoted to his writers. The famous trifecta of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe get a lot of attention, of course---though those familiar wit ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Рядко биография се лее по начина, по който се лее „Геният“. Той е малка река на времето. На времето, в което бъдещето е станало част от ежедневието. Бърг майсторски е успял да прелисти живота на един забележителен в своята професия човек без хиперболи и апотеози, а краят на книгата оставя отворен един вечен въпрос – за смъртта на човека/твореца и наследството, което той оставя след себе си.
„Мисля, че няма да е преувеличено да кажа, че от писане просто изчезнах в написаното.“(Томас Улф)
Barry Hammond
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max Perkins was the classic example of a fine book editor, discovering and developing such talents as F. Scott Fitgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, Taylor Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, James Jones, and many others. Always putting the writer first, he deflected personal publicity in favour of working behind the scenes. His own life, however, was as distinctly fascinating as any of his authors and had secret sides to it. A. Scott Berg does a masterful job of peeling back the layers of ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Queriendo o no este libro pone en valor la labor del editor y su importancia. Aunque el editor debe estar en la sombra, como decía Perkins, y no en el foco.
Te hace preguntarte cómo hubiera sido la obra de grandes escritores sin el trabajo Max Perkins.
¿Hubieran llegado siquiera a la imprenta?
Una biografía reveladora y amena, aunque algunos capítulos se leen con menos agilidad, nos descubre una y varias historias. La del genio de la literatura, y la histori
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
I accidentally stumbled upon a book of correspondence between Max Perkins and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings on a "for sale" shelve at a local library. I wanted something to read during my lunch hour so I popped over to the public library and bought some of their books for a dime a piece. I was not much interested in the book "Dear Max, Dear Marjorie", but, heck, it was a nice, thick hard cover with an undamaged dust jacket for a dime.

Those occurrences are called "serendipity". It was a tremendous fin
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the biography of Max Perkins, editor for Scribner's who worked with Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and many more authors in editing their classics. Berg does a wonderful job in writing this amazing tale of Perkin's life and his amazing relationships with some of the most influential writers of that time period. I had seen the movie this book was based on and wanted to learn more and I was not disappointed. Highly recommended - I did not want th ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For years, Maxwell Perkins has lived in my imagination as an almost mythic literary hero. The Scribners editor famously worked with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Thomas Wolfe, among others, supporting them through their struggles and gently pushing them to produce work that continues to be read and studied today.

A. Scott Berg’s biography of the man is a remarkable achievement—an intimate, impressively researched work that brings to life not only the shy editor but a score of litera
Daniel Donatelli
I found this book in the least-literary building of the least-literary city I've ever lived in. Seeing as how it was on the building's first-floor communal "it's yours if you want it" table, it had clearly been abandoned, along with some out-of-fashion skiing equipment and scraped-up kitchen kitsch. I had no idea who Max Perkins was, but I grabbed the book when I saw the names Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Wolfe on the cover, and since I'd had my own preexisting curiosities concerning the editing t ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Геният" ме придружаваше всеки ден в автобус №120 в продължение на доста дни, за което съм изключително благодарен на мистър Бърг. Направи дните ми далеч по-поносими.

Макс Пъркинс - открил за света Фицджералд, Хемингуей, Томас Улф и много други - е наистина личност, за която си струва да си чете и пише. В книгата има страшно интересни неща за едно страшно интересно време в литературата, а вярвам и немалко вдъхновяващи примери.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Max Perkins was the Scribner's editor during the golden age of American Literature. His clients included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. This is an outstanding work, well-cited and researched. I just loved it.
John Bernard
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are a fan of Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald and/or Ernest Hemingway, you need to read this book for insight into each man, the times they lived in, their challenges and successes, their climb to fame, and relationship with this incredible editor who helped guide their words to greatness. Thank you so much for your effort to write this book A. Scott Berg. Really well done!
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Наистина е мащабно проучване, но не ми допадна особено. Раздвоена съм – от една страна ми беше изключително интересно да чета за редакторската работа и творческия процес на Фицджералд, Хемингуей, Томас Улф (последният не ми е познат, но смятам да прочета единствената му издадена книга в България), подробности за личния им живот, за начина им на работа, за черти от характера им. Но всичко e някак хаотично – разказът прескача от един проект на Макс Пъркинс към друг, от един негов автор на друг, бе ...more
October 2016, update: Although the movie includes a Hemingway cameo and scenes with F Scott Fitzgerald, it centers too much on Thomas Wolfe. Nonetheless, this was a good, literate period piece about writing as well as book editing and publishing in the twenties, bringing the book to life. A Scott Berg, the author of the book, discusses the transformation from page to screen in an interesting special feature on the DVD.

April 2016, original comments:

A very-well written biography of Max Perkins,
Andrew Scott Berg arrivò a Perkins seguendo i passi di Fitzgerald, il suo scrittore preferito. Ripercorse la vicenda editoriale di Gatsby, il romanzo che lo ossessionava dall'adolescenza, e incontrò il nome di Perkins. Capì subito che l'editor fu una presenza fondamentale nella vita professionale e personale di Fitzgerald. Poi lo ritrovò nei libri di Hemingway, a lui lo scrittore dedicò la prima edizione del romanzo Il vecchio e il mare. Berg decise che la storia di Perkins, di quel mito d'Ameri ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
A really interesting biography of Max Perkins, an editor most well-known now for discovering F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe—though he also edited many bestsellers of the 20s, 30s and 40s which are now forgotten. There are times when Berg's coyness in telling anonymous anecdotes, coupled with his seeming desire to excuse Perkins' sexism with sexism, makes for a slightly frustrating read. Perhaps it might also be more enjoyable for people who have an interest in Perkins' mo ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My main problem with this book is the fact that it was supposed to be a book about Max Perkins, and yet there is so little aboiut him in it.
This book is full of interesting stories and anectotes about the greatest wrters of that time - Fitzgerayld, Hemingway, Wolfe, Galsworthy. It's a fascnating book for every one who's a fan of said authors. Those stories overshadow everything else though, and you're left fith the feeling that now you know almost everything about Fitzgerald and Hemingway, and c
Ilene Harris
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Max Perkins Editor Of Genius.” An outstanding biography of Max Perkins, a celebrated editor of Charles Scribner Books, discovering the talents of such outstanding authors as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and numerous others. A great book to read to learn about the ins and outs of publishing and how Max Perkins nurtured these great authors to bring out the best in them. The book was so full of insight into all of their lives and how they lived. As such, Max Perkins deserved ...more
Sophfronia Scott
Haven't had a lot of reading time lately but I was determined to finish this excellent biography. Berg captures the humanity of the legendary editor Perkins as well as the legends he discovered: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe. The book is also provides an inside look at the publishing industry at the time. Some things have changed but much is interestingly the same.
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“Max said little. His essential quality was always to say little, but by powerful empathy for writers and for books to draw out of them what they had it in them to say and to write.” 5 likes
“Max sent Scottie some literary advice, the same dictum he gave every college student who called on him. He stressed the importance of a liberal arts education but urged her to avoid all courses in writing. "Everyone has to find her own way of writing," he wrote Scottie, "and the source of finding it is largely out of literature.” 3 likes
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