From Publishers Weekly
As the mordant maxim byword at the offices of a certain left-wing weekly has it, "If it's bad for the country, it's good for The Nation
" (the magazine's circulation has risen 71% since the 2000 election of George Bush). Of course, an alternative theory might emphasize Navasky's sure-handed stewardship of the country's "oldest weekly magazine" over the last 25 years. After editing a prominent 1960s satirical magazine (the Monocle
) and working at the New York Times Magazine
, Navasky, with his combination of bedrock principle and a light touch, was a perfect fit at the Nation
. Unmistakably confined to professional doings (family members are hardly mentioned), this memoir recounts myriad tempests in teapots (and some not so trifling), lawsuits, donnybrooks, controversies and lines drawn in the sand. If the New Republic
is where liberals address Washington, the Nation
is where liberals talk among themselves. Navasky discusses many of his lively charges and colleagues (Trillin, Ephron, Hitchens, Sontag), and relates his thinking behind some of his most important decisions as an editor. Too fragmented to substitute for a history of the left over the past few decades, Navasky's story is finally about the nuts and bolts of editing an intellectual journal, interesting enough in its own right. Agent, Amanda Urban. (May)
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"Journals of opinion are not by themselves going to save the world," Navasky admits, but, in nearly three decades of running The Nation and in four hundred-odd pages here, he remains a tireless evangelist for the idea that the world as we know it—liberal, democratic, and Enlightened—won't be saved without them and the public discourse they foster. Opinion magazines themselves, however, survive on the strength of their editors, or, as Navasky points out, on the reach of their editors' Rolodexes, and, luckily for The Nation, Navasky knows almost everyone. The front-room tour of his charmed rise from the Little Red School House to the publisher's chair includes visits with Bob Guccione, Paul Newman, and Jürgen Habermas. Along the way, Allen Ginsberg sleeps on the floor, formerly blacklisted members of the Hollywood Ten defame each other, and Norman Mailer claims he's never sold out.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker