The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors and Authors (Hardcover)

The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors and Authors Cover Image

The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors and Authors (Hardcover)

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The golden age of book publishing, Al Silverman informs us with utter certainty, began in 1946 and lasted into the late 1970s and early 1980s. In his intimate history of those years, Silverman sets out to prove this sweeping conceit by relying on the eyes and ears and memories of the men and women who were there creating that history. Without inhibition, more than 120 of the most notable heads of houses, editors and publishers of this time shared many never-before told stories about how the most important books in postwar America came into being, and are still being read today.

In The Time of Their Lives we learn how …

-- Robert Gottlieb worked with Joseph Heller to make Catch-18, as it was then called, into the world renowned Catch-22…

-- Corlies “Cork” Smith took a risk on a shy young man he had never  heard of, Thomas Pynchon, after being absorbed by one of his earliest short stories …

-- Leona Nevler edited under delicate working conditions with a most difficult author, to make Peyton Place a novel for all generations.

            It was Arthur Thornhill, Sr., in his years as president of Little, Brown’s grand publishing house who said about the occupation he loved, “I wanted to be part of something that was good,” his word for publishing in the golden age. In this fascinating and elegiac history, Al Silverman illuminates a period in publishing that was not only good, but formed a distinguishing landmark of culture in American life -- a golden time that certainly deserves a new life.

Al Silverman entered the publishing industry in 1972 as CEO of Book of the Month Club, after working for Sport magazine for twelve years. Later, he became president and editor-in-chief of The Viking Press, then a part of Penguin USA. He has written several books since.
Product Details ISBN: 9780312350031
Publisher: Truman Talley Books
Publication Date: September 16th, 2008
Pages: 512

“Of course, Al Silverman is both a ‘bookman’ par excellence and also the ultimate publishing insider, so it almost goes without saying that he is exactly the right person to write the story of book publishing since the Second World War, in the now bygone age of independent publishers and bigger-than-life editors. With world-class total recall, a clear eye, and a nice sense of humor, he brings back to life the publishers, the authors, the agents, and the editors who have filled his life, and whose personalities, often odd and marvelous, make his book a must for anyone who loves books and the world of book publishing.”

---Michael Korda, author of Charmed Lives, Another Life, and Ike