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New York Days Paperback – November 2, 1994

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nearly 25 years after his bestselling memoir North Toward Home, the Mississippi-born writer and editor here revisits some of the same material--Southern boy in the big city--but with a closer focus on his controversial editorship of Harper's magazine. Morris writes, sometimes eloquently, sometimes with a little too much rhetorical rodomontade, about the magic of New York City and the distinguished writers with whom he worked during those influential years (1967-1971) when the magazine was the "hot book": Norman Mailer, David Halberstam, Marshall Frady, Larry L. King and Bill Moyers, among many others. Morris recaptures splendidly the heady sense that he and his magazine were helping to shape the culture of the times by focusing opposition to the Vietnam war and by taking the complicated beat of the contemporary American pulse. Eventually the magazine fell victim to the bottom-line mentality of its Minnesota owners, the Cowles family, and Morris quit. There are fine anecdotes galore (the early days of Elaine's celebrated restaurant are delightfully chronicled) and striking quotes; the whole is drenched in nostalgia and regret. Morris, now having been back home in Mississippi for many years, leaves readers with the feeling that he lived during the kind of time, personal and professional, that can never come again; and in a period when '60s attitudes are so readily scorned, it is salutary to be reminded of the sense of excitement and possibility those times aroused in so many writers.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Morris (The Courting of Marcus Dupree, 1983, etc.), Mississippi-born, was barely 30 when, in 1963, he took the helm of Harper's magazine and changed it from a genteel and respectable cultural warhorse into a writer-driven journalistic whiz-bang, publishing Mailer and Halberstam and everyone else who was pushing journalism into more plastic realms. Morris became the toast of the intellectual town--until he was forced out in 1971 by the Cowles family ownership. What he's written here is more a continuation of his first autobiographical book (North Toward Home, 1967) than a portrait of the 60's city the title describes--of being in the thick of literary politics, the political edges that flashed around like knives, the camaraderie at Elaine's and Bobby Van's: the whirl, in other words. An orotund and now-and-again infelicitous stylist (``The first time I met James Jones was in the city at the party the evening he told Ted Kennedy I was not the bartender''), Morris falls back too much on nearly year-by-year recapitulations of what his magazine published (something that adds an odd poignancy, in a way: that Morris had become subsumed in his identity as Harper's editor to the point that his works were his days). Portraiture here is at a minimum; mostly there are names and more names. That all of these are names culturally significant to the era gives the book its interest--but finally even they can't quite help it see much beyond its own bumped and bruised nose. Morris's pride, hurt and otherwise, is on every page--but disappointingly little of the cautionary tale of literary power that shades his whole story breaks free and takes over, or is allowed to be fascinating. (First printing of 25,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (November 2, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316583987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316583985
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,293,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Okay, in reality Mr. Morris was, what, 26 -- and the youngest person to hold the position of Editor at Harper's? Anyway, a fascinating look at the NY literary world during the mid to late 60's. Morris was witness to one of the greatest gatherings of young and gifted writers ever assembled in the modern era.
The book starts with the professional steps Morris took prior to accepting the position. The narrative contiues with his insights into the history of Harper's, and then goes into detail about some of the current and previous literary heavyweights that populated the cramped offices as either full-time workers or contributers.
The passages on how he got Norman Mailer to contribute pieces are illuminating and memorable.
If you liked 'North Toward Home,' you'll like this one as well. A very touching book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having retired in the south from Southern California I was anxious to read all of Willy Morrises writings. This one does not disappoint. I love his writing and wish there were more to come. Alas the poor man is passed on.
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By Sonia on September 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Best book ever!
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