A Life Of Privilege, Mostly | Granta

  • Published: 08/01/2007
  • ISBN: 9781862079182
  • 130x20mm
  • 272 pages

A Life Of Privilege, Mostly

Gardner Botsford

Gardner Botsford grew up in a Manhattan town house under the benign eye of five live-in servants, a charming and cultivated stepfather, and a mother whose beauty and wit attracted admirers ranging from the statesman Averell Harriman, to comic genius Harpo Marx. Botsford attended Yale, summered in France and on Long Island, married a popular and attractive girl and won an enviable job as a reporter on The New Yorker – then, in 1942, his life of privilege was rudely interrupted. Drafted into the infantry, he trained as an officer, and on D-day landed with the First Infantry Division on Omaha Beach in Normandy. He went on to witness the liberation of Paris (by going AWOL) and to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. Back at The New Yorker, Botsford was made an editor, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1982. A Life of Privilege, Mostly concludes with a series of memorable vignettes about life on the magazine and about New Yorker ornaments such as A. J. Liebling, Maeve Brennan and William Shawn, Botsford’s long-time friend, mentor, boss and, at the last, adversary.

A wonderful mixture of high comedy and tense conflict, in war and at The New Yorker. I loved it

Anthony Lewis, Purlitzer Prize winner and columnist

Gardner Botsford's memoir is a New Yorker's life that is also a portrait of New York in its best years ... An elegant, witty, touching book

Samuel Hynes, author of FLIGHTS OF PASSAGE and WAR IMAGINED

A reader's dream: a book without a dull moment ... Gardner Botsford's vigorous and charming High American prose never flags. If we cannot all live such an interesting life, at least we have the pleasure of reading one

Earl Shorris, author of NEW AMERICAN BLUES and contributing editor at HARPER'S

The Author

Gardner Botsford (1917-2004) was a distinguished editor at the New Yorker for almost forty years. During the Second World War he served with the First US Infantry Division.

More about the author →

Gardner Botsford on Granta.com

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Over There

Various Contributors

Americans, speaking of foreign lands, often say, 'It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.'