Friends, Writers, and Other Countrymen: A Memoir by Sidney Offit
Friends, Writers, and Other Countrymen: A Memoir by Sidney Offit , faculty, the MFA in Creative Writing at The New School.
St. Martin’s Press, 2008
From Publisher Weekly: “It seems that Offit, former senior editor of Intellectual Digest and book editor of Politics Today, knew everyone who was worth knowing, as his new memoir is peopled with noted writers, lawmakers and sporting buddies. Realizing early that his passion was writing, Offit, who has now curated journalism’s George Polk Awards for more than 25 years, becomes an astute observer on the New York celebrity scene, encountering H.L. Mencken, accused Communist spy Alger Hiss, studio head Dore Schary, Marlon Brando and poets Robert Frost and Frank O’Hara. Some of the meetings with celebrities, like politician Adlai Stevenson, CIA’s Allen Dulles, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut, are lightweight, revealing little beyond their patented image. He fares better in his descriptions of the no-nonsense Che Guevara offering him Cuban cigars; not-so-tall actor Errol Flynn; pugilist Mike Tyson with “his high pitched little boy-little girl voice that belied his speed, power, and rage.” It’s a memoir that lapses into name-dropping but is often wonderful in its remembrances.”