cover image Salinger


David Shields and Shane Salerno. Simon & Schuster, $37.50 (720p) ISBN 978-1-4767-4483-4

The culmination of over 200 interviews and almost a decade of research, Shields (How Literature Saved My Life) and Salerno, director of the documentary accompanying the book, offer an oral history, effectively blended with narrative and analysis of the iconic writer and his body of work. In lesser hands, this approach could quickly spiral out of control, but Shields and Salerno keep the story on track. Granted, many mileposts and lore%E2%80%94such as Salinger's predilection for young girls or Catcher in the Rye's influence on high-profile assassinations%E2%80%94will not be all that revelatory but the authors' impressive collection of first-person accounts by those who were there gives readers greater insight into the writer and his place in the world. Literary snippets, such as "I'm Crazy," a short story Salinger wrote in Europe that was the first story narrated by Holden Caulfield, and asides%E2%80%94"Jesus, he has a helluva talent," Hemingway is reported to have said of Salinger%E2%80%94combined with a number of photos will make this a must-read for fans of the celebrated author. Photos. (Sept.)