Al Silverman, a noted figure in American publishing, has written a wonderful chronicle of book publishing for all who cherish books. The Time of Their Lives is not only a love song to the industrys golden age, an era that beganafter World War IIand lasted for threeplus decades, but it is also a reflection of the tastes and cultural appetites of the American public.
Relying on the eyes, ears, and memories of more than 120 notable publishing figures, including Alfred Knopf, the Doubleday fathers and sons, and the Thornhills of Little, Brown and Company, the author offers an intimate history of neverbeforetold stories about how some of the most important books in postwar America came into being. Along with houses that go back to the mid1800s, Silverman covers publishings postWWII newcomers such as Roger Straus, who amassed nineteen Nobel Prizesin his time, and Barney Rosset, whose Grove Pressfreed such banned authors as D. H. Lawrence and Henry Miller.He takes a close look at the paperback revolution of the 1950s and the 1960s and pays particular homage to the Golden Ages talentedhorde of editors, who offer marvelous stories about their authors. It was Arthur Thornhill, Sr., in his years as president of Little, Brown and Company, who said about the occupation he loved, I wanted to be part of something that was good. In this fascinating and elegiac history, Al Silverman illuminates a period in publishing that not only was good but also formed a distinguishing landmark of culture in American life.