J.D. Salinger: A Life

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Random House, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 450 pages
20 Reviews
One of the most popular and mysterious figures in American literary history, author of the classic Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger eluded fans and journalists for most of his life. Now comes a new biography that Peter Ackroyd in The Times of London calls “energetic and magnificently researched”—a book from which “a true picture of Salinger emerges.” Filled with new information and revelations—garnered from countless interviews, letters, and public records—J. D. Salinger presents an extraordinary life that spanned nearly the entire twentieth century.

Kenneth Slawenski explores Salinger's privileged youth, long obscured by misrepresentation and rumor, revealing the brilliant, sarcastic, vulnerable son of a disapproving father and doting mother and his entrance into a social world where Gloria Vanderbilt dismissively referred to him as “a Jewish boy from New York.” Here too are accounts of Salinger's first broken heart—Eugene O'Neill's daughter, Oona, left him for the much older Charlie Chaplin—and the devastating World War II service (“a living hell”) of which he never spoke and which haunted him forever.

J. D. Salinger features all the dazzle of this author's early writing successes, his dramatic encounters with luminaries from Ernest Hemingway to Laurence Olivier to Elia Kazan, his surprising office intrigues with famous New Yorker editors and writers, and the stunning triumph of The Catcher in the Rye, which would both make him world-famous and hasten his retreat into the hills of New Hampshire.

Whether it's revealing the facts of his hasty, short-lived first marriage or his lifelong commitment to Eastern religion, which would dictate his attitudes toward sex, nutrition, solitude, and creativity, J. D. Salinger is this unique author's unforgettable story in full—one that no lover of literature can afford to miss.

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Fascinating portrayal of a writer I love. - Goodreads
A very well researched look at Salinger's life. - Goodreads
It may only be replaced by a writer. - Goodreads

Review: JD Salinger: A Life

User Review  - Diana G - Goodreads

But what is a god to a non believer? It may only be replaced by a writer. Yes, Salinger is way more than just my obsession, he is my religion. You ought to read this book only if you love Salinger and ... Read full review

Review: JD Salinger: A Life

User Review  - Tl Wagener - Goodreads

This biography must have very difficult to write, knowing Salinger's aversion to publicity. I am in a book club that has "Franny and Zooey" as its next selection, and I always try to learn about the ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Kenneth Slawenski is the creator of DeadCaulfields.com, a website founded in 2004 and recommended by The New York Times. He has been working on this biography for eight years. Slawenski was born in New Jersey, and has lived there all his life.

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