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Max Perkins: Editor of Genius Max Perkins once wrote to Thomas Wolfe that "[t]here could be nothing so important as a book can be." Perkins lived and died believing this, as A. Scott Berg attests with his book, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. Berg's book begins by describing a rainy evening in mid-Manhattan where a class of budding editors and publishers awaits the infamous Maxwell Perkins for a discussion on editing. Here Berg reveals Perkins as "unlikely for his profession: he was a terrible speller, his punctuation was idiosyncratic," and he was an awfully slow reader by his own admission (4). But none came near Perkins's "record for finding gifted authors and getting them into print"(4). Perkins defines editing to the enthusiastic class, not as being a great speller or grammarian, but as knowing "what to publish, how to get it, and what to do to help it achieve the largest readership"(4). This introduction leads the reader into a long flashback of Perkins's life as an editor, the risks he took with books by new talents and the undying support he gave artists, proving Perkins to be "America's greatest editor." Max Perkins is basically structured sequentially and intertwines Perkins's dealings with manuscripts, Charles Scribner's Sons-- Publishers and Booksellers, authors and their personal as well as artistic lives, and some of what went on in Perkins's personal life. Berg describes how Perkins mingled with artists at work and at home; his wife, Louise was an actress as well as an author of children's books. The Perkinses hosted dinner parties that included authors such as Thomas Wolfe and F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as attended social functions where writers gathered. Max Perkins hardly vacationed during his life, but surprisingly visited Ernest Hemingway several times in Key West or Arkansas to fish and hunt. If he wasn't dealing with writers or their manuscripts in one respect or another, he talked about writing where ever he we...

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