Turning Pages

 Turning Pages by John Sargent

Interesting and quite funny at times, this look back at Mr. Sargent's career is told mostly through stories of the famous people he met and worked with and the books that caused a stir at the time. Also part biography, he talks about his childhood and growing up with divorced parents - the book opens with a story about him being thown from a bucking calf at his first rodeo at age 7. 

He worked for a number of well-known Publishers in different capacities, but it's the people he met and the books he worked on, some of them quite controversial, that make this really interesting. Names like Brittany Spears, Barack and Michelle Obama, John Grisham, Jeff Bezos, Edward Snowdon, Sarah Ferguson, and Moncia Lewinsky appear regularly. 

When his company published Fire and Fury, the book chronicling Donald Trump's first 100 days in the White House (as witnessed by a journalist who was there that whole period), the President himself ordered the company to "cease and desist". They published it anyway, because "A sitting president was attemptimg to subvert the First amendment, and freedon of the press was usually the first freedom suspended by authoritarion regimes." I haven't yet read that one, but knowing a bit about how it came to be has me curious. I'll see if my library has a copy.

Some of Sargent's writing is beautiful: "I was completely alone on the lift ride up. The craggy peaks and sheer faces of the Eastern Sierra cast shadows across the snow of their shoulders. The sun's angle deepend the furrows in the bark of the old ponderosa pines. The air was still, the sky a high-altitude blue. The silence of the mountains." There were other places it felt more contrived and sometimes a little self-indulgent. He toots his own horn a bit. 

This one is worth reading for the behind-the-scenes look at some of the titles and authors he was involved with. Some really interesting stories here.


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