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Condé Nast: The Man and His Empire -- A Biography Hardcover – Illustrated, September 3, 2019
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Praise for Condé Nast:
“In her new biography, Susan Ronald describes [Nast’s] ambitions and excesses, and the simultaneously fashionable and intellectual world he inhabited.” ―The New Republic
“Groundbreaking…This big, glittering book provides a full and human portrait of Condé Nast. Lively, detailed descriptions of the early decades of the 20th century complete the setting of Nast’s life story.” ―Christian Science Monitor
“Ronald’s account succeeds as a social history of this fizzy time as she documents the interconnected worlds covered by Vogue and Vanity Fair ― fashion, high society, literature, the arts and entertainment ― from writers Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley of the Algonquin Round Table to New York socialites won over by Nast’s charm offensive.” ―Newsday
"With her breezy, gossipy style, Ronald brings to life the story of the influential American publisher and his magazines." ―Library Journal
“[Ronald] does an exceptional job of integrating the story of Nast’s personal fortunes and misfortunes and the lives of those he sought to refine and educate.” ―Booklist
"The thoroughly researched story of Condé Nast...a highly flattering biography of an important figure in American publishing." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Ronald writes in a vivid, sparkling, amused style...and revels in the era’s repartee, clothes and gossip. ...her evocation of the vibrant scene around [Nast] will keep readers entertained." ―Publishers Weekly
Praise for A Dangerous Woman:
"Energetic...Ronald's group portrait is breath-taking and quite modern." ―New York Times Book Review
“A lively picture of the world in which Florence moved, with all its intricate financial shenanigans, rivalrous investors and glittering social occasions.” ―Wall Street Journal
“Ronald traces Gould’s amoral life and high-flying times…elegant and beautiful, she used sex and charm as her currency, trading them for favors and luxuries that let her sail through the war years unscathed." ―New York Post
Praise for Hitler's Art Thief:
“[A] riveting portrait of Gurlitt, who detested the Nazis, and stole from them, but did their bidding in the name of ‘saving modern art’.” ―The New Yorker
“Susan Ronald situates Gurlitt’s life and career amid the turmoil of Weimar Germany and then the evolution of Nazi art-looting campaigns from the late 1930s to the end of World War II. Ms. Ronald, a popular historian, presents many new details about Gurlitt’s dealings.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Susan Ronald’s new book tells the back story of what may be the most startling art-world bust in modern history.” ―USA Today
“Susan Ronald chronicles one man’s extraordinary career of thievery…an exhaustively researched and well written book that has a cautionary tale for all of us.” ―Forbes
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.57 pounds
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250180023
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250180025
- Dimensions : 6.63 x 1.42 x 9.52 inches
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press; Illustrated edition (September 3, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #320,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It is hard to believe this is the first biography written about Conde Nast in over thirty years. I think many people may only associate his name with a brand and are either unaware of his history or have forgotten it was his hard work and foresight that influenced society within the pages of his magazine, both in the US and abroad, beginning in 1909, when he bought Vogue.
This is a comprehensive biography of Conde Nast and his vision, his influence on and his place in society. I found most of this history quite fascinating, especially as I am a huge fan of Vanity Fair magazine. The behind the scenes politics is pretty juicy stuff- sort of gossipy, if you will, and was all news to me, since it all took place way before my time.
Nast’s formidable competition was Randolph Hearst and the two warred it out for many years, with Conde holding his own quite nicely- until he hit a snag during the depression.
As engrossing as some of the power struggles, and clever business techniques could be, sections of the book were a bit dry and it was hard not to zone out or resist the urge to skim. The writing is thorough, maybe a bit too much, on occasion, but the author’s research stands out. While Conde Nast endured many personal and professional ups and downs, he is mostly portrayed in a positive light and author takes a soft approach with his life story.
This is an interesting biography which includes some little known, or thought of history, about the publishing business, and the way it evolved over time. Nast was smart, a hard worker, and didn’t abuse his wealth or power, but also made colossal missteps and suffered numerous health issues throughout his life.
If you are interested in publishing, history, or business, you might find this book intriguing. If you are a fan of Vogue or Vanity Fair- in particular- the influence and impressions Conde and his publications had on fashions and society, you will find this book of interest as well.
Although it is occasionally dry, the writing style keeps the pacing moving at a quick pace for a biography. I found it easy to read, despite so many names and events to keep track of.
Overall, the book is informative, interesting, and a compelling biography of Conde Nast- a visionary in the world of publishing.
Coming into fame through the subscription written word in the early 20th century, Nast ascends a ladder adjacent to the social hierarchy by documenting their lives and, eventually, their travels. He's known for a use of high-fashion illustrations, addressing nearly any kind of reader with articles and targeted advertisements, and for gathering up staff, photographers, and magazines to place behind his publishing helm. It's so, so dense with history and near-moment to moment prose that at once comes off as both a good thing and a bad.