John Farrar (1896–1974), a quick-to-anger “High Episcopalian editor,” and Roger Straus (1917–2004), a wealthy, charismatic “Jewish prep-school jock,” joined forces in 1946 to launch a New York publishing house. In 1955, Straus hired the immensely talented editor Robert Giroux (1914–2008), a working-class “Jersey City Jesuit.” Journalist Kachka tells Farrar and Giroux’s intriguing stories with zest, but Straus is the sun around which this scintillating history revolves. Possessed of “lordly benevolence and canny calculation,” Straus ran a cosmopolitan, intellectual, if shabby kingdom where sex was the currency of the realm, a CIA connection opened doors to overseas writers, parties served as publicity campaigns, and the prestigious literary house of Farrar, Straus & Giroux published a record-making 25 Nobel laureates. Writing with vigor, skill, and expertise and drawing on dozens of in-depth interviews, Kachka shares risqué gossip and striking insider revelations and vividly profiles the house’s world-shaping writers, including Flannery O’Connor, Tom Wolfe, and Susan Sontag. Kachka’s engrossing portrait of an exceptional publishing house sheds new light on the volatile mixture of commerce, art, and passion that makes the world of books go round. --Donna Seaman
For anyone with a sweet tooth for the book world or a thought and a care for American culture after the Second World War, Kachka's book is a brightly lit, well-stocked candy store. Its pages are stuffed with tales of book parties and Nobel Prizes, of Edmund Wilson meeting Susan Sontag at a dinner with Straus, of former employees looking back on their time there, of good ideas gone to the remainder bin and suprising ones to the best-seller list, of advances written off and royalties piling up for some of the best books of our time. Like other essential books about publishing, Hothouse is a rousing reminder that, virtually alone among the professions and trades, a publishing firm is called a "house"--and, to paraphrase Le Corbusier (a rare midcentury culture grandee that FSG didn't publish), what a wonderful machine for living a publisher can be. --Matt WeilandSee all Editorial Reviews
This is a fluently written, quite fascinating behind-the-scenes story of a storied publisher.Published 4 months ago by Johnny Action
HOTHOUSE, by Boris Kachka.
I wasn't sure if I'd like this book, an account of the history of one of the most prestigious publishing houses in America, Farrar, Strauss &... Read more
I received my copy through Goodreads First Reads.
I would highly suggest this to anyone in the business of publishing, editing, or writing. Read more
The long story of this publishing house, focusing mostly on Straus, the colorful womanizer and savvy publisher who kept the place going for so long. Read morePublished 9 months ago by D. Hage
Good book if you are interested in writing and/or working in the publishing industry. Nicely written, even if you are a fiction reader.Published 16 months ago by babyalice
Who would think that the books we read and such back room tales to tale? That is the case with this non-fiction story of one of the great American publishing houses in the days... Read morePublished 17 months ago by G. Poole
Impulsive Roger Straus and intellectual Robert Giroux built Farrar, Straus, and Giroux from scratch, cementing the company’s reputation for nurturing critically acclaimed artists... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Readerly
Interesting account of one of the finest houses to exist in NY publishing. I particularly enjoyed the biography of the firm's most ebullient, charismatic member, Roger Straus. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Amazon Customer