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The very next piece, Mark Singer's "Secrets of the Magus," is a prime example of what The New Yorker does best. In Ricky Jay, "perhaps the most gifted sleight-of-hand artist alive," Singer has hit on a quirky, eccentric, and fascinating subject--one that offers plenty of scope for writer and reader alike to dip into an arcane and little-known world of magicians, mountebanks, card handlers, and confidence men. Alva Johnston achieves similar success in "The Education of a Prince," his 1932 Profile of con man Harry F. Gerguson, who spent years masquerading as the lost Prince Michael Alexandrovitch Dmitry Obolensky Romanoff:
The Prince had a glittering career in New York, Boston, Newport, on Long Island, in high-caste settlements along the Hudson, and among the aristocracies of a dozen American cities. Twice he swept over Hollywood in a confetti shower of bad checks. He was repeatedly exposed, but exposure does not embarrass him greatly. He is widely admired today, not for his title but for his own sake. He has convinced a fairly large public that a good imposter is preferable to the average prince.Of course The New Yorker covered plenty of household names, as well, and Life Stories contains sketches of such celebrities as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Johnny Carson, Richard Pryor and Marlon Brando. The arts are well represented by pieces on Ernest Hemingway, Anatole Broyard, and David Salle, and even the contributors are stellar, including such well-known scribes as Henry Louis Gates Jr., Truman Capote, and John McPhee.
But where is that famous Profile of the sea by Rachel Carson, you ask? Pauline Kael's piece on Cary Grant or Janet Malcolm's controversial study of psychoanalyst Aaron Green? In his introduction Remnick acknowledges the many great Profiles that did not make it into this volume, explaining that he decided to publish pieces only in full. "I wanted the reader to get the real thing--no excerpts, no snippets," he writes. "As a result the reader will have to go elsewhere for a range of long or multipart Profiles." What's here is choice, though, and die-hard New Yorker aficionados who turn to the Profiles even before perusing the cartoons won't be disappointed by what they find. All in all, Life Stories makes a fine 75th anniversary bouquet for the magazine's many devoted readers. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
As with any anthology, there are articles/stories of great interest, some that are OK and some you stop reading after a few paragraphs. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Timothy Schum
The profile of Roseanne was worth the entire purchase price.Published 5 months ago by Glenda J. Talley
Biographical essays of 30 people, mostly American. The essays first appeared in The New Yorker magazine from 1920's up to 2000. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Anne Mills
Fabulous book - so interesting, stories were well selected. Hated to finish it, seriously. Read this book and you will be happy.Published 15 months ago by Brooke Harless
Very nice condition at a good price.Excellent compliation of note worthy peoples life stories. Handy copy to take with me.Published 15 months ago by kitty Goodchild
These profiles are so great. Well written, insightful, on subjects both silly and profound, with lots of insight into human nature. Read morePublished on December 24, 2012 by Roger Angle
This is a non-fiction anthology about the rich, famous, celebrities, etc. I enjoy reading this book so much that it hard to put down and get to work on my own stuff. Read morePublished on November 6, 2012 by Bookworm2
I very much enjoy profiles of interesting people and had high hopes for this book, but it's awful. In fact, I gave up on about the fourth tape. Read morePublished on May 25, 2008 by Barbara B.
If you are a fan of biographies but are intimidated by 1,000-page tomes, Life Stories is a great choice. Read morePublished on January 3, 2007 by S. Fowler