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on 29 April 2014
Considering that Salinger never gave interviews or explained his work and was something of a recluse, this is probably as good a biography as we're going to get. It tells the outline of his life and merges it with critiques of his work. There are inevitable gaps. The principal one is the war: Salinger landed on D-Day and was in some of the heaviest fighting from then on, but never talked about his experiences to anyone. The authors are reduced to giving several accounts of the battles he fought in leaving it to the reader to put Salinger in the picture. They shed some light on the religious mysticism that lies behind his later stories.
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on 29 November 2013
An excellent effort. In bringing together a range of material we get a serious insight into this great writer. \that though, is only part of it. Salinger`s own recollections of World War Two, both in the context of New York in 1943 and Normandy in 1944 are illuminating and again demonstrate his economical but insightful style. This book is atruly memorable achievement and a must for all Salinger fans,
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 January 2014
Because I consider myself a fan of J.D. Salinger I had big expectations from this book by authors David Shields and Shane Salerno.

They made extensive research that lasted for nine years, they gathered 200+ interviews all around the world, found lot of history records and lost photographs, even they managed to find some of his unpublished works but in the end the result is not so good.

Salinger was a complicated person and obviously it wasn't easy to write biography of such a man.
Unfortunately, the reader will learn only few facts beside countless life episodes and anecdotes, not completely uninteresting but not something that we could expected.
The only exception is completely covered Salinger's experience during World War II, from Normandy invasion to the liberation of German Dachau concentration camp.

The main problem is that book is not really written in usual way, but more it resembles screenplay to the Salinger movie that would be also released.
Indeed, you will see the name of each person speaking in separate paragraph so reader have an impression that this book is one big interview with countless participants that is hard to follow.

The other problems are incompleteness of end notes, lots of misspelling, lack of index, etc. that all suggest that book was rushed to sale to accompany the release of the movie.
The book price is also a bit too high, especially for paperback edition but also considering that the book is actually of smaller dimensions than usual hardcovers.

Overall, after you read this book you will probably have feeling that in fact not much useful can be learned from it about Salinger.
Since this writting format will much better function on the screen than in the book I can only hope that the movie will be more meaningful and therefore could possibly increase the quality of the book if it will offer behind-the-scenes materials.

Until then, I cannot recommend reading this book because given the time that you'll need to invest certainly you won't get what you expected.
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on 4 November 2013
I have read Catcher in the Rye a number of times. It is one of my favourite read (top 5 easy). It was nice to know the man behind to book. This book certainly gives you the whole shabang. You close the book feeling that you know the man personally. The style and layout is different and hard to get your head around for a start but as you carry on you get used to it. I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of buying it. It's refreshing in it's difference and eye opening in it's facts.
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on 13 December 2013
The format is terribly tiresome. If it had been written instead as a biography, it might have been much more interesting. But on the positive side, it gives an insight into so many unanswered questions about the origins of some of the sources of Salinger's ideas. Thanks.
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on 24 October 2013
This work presents much new material in an absorbing way. Particularly interesting is the detailed coverage of his experience during WWII. The many photographs are a valuable addition, and the reader begins to understand why Salinger felt as he did about the world.
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on 3 November 2013
By the heft and all the media hoopla around this biography, I thought this would be the kind of book I like -- meaty, detailed and well-crafted. But it wasn't really necessary to kill all those trees. It's obvious from the form of the book (one quotation or vignette after another), that there came a moment during the making of the documentary when someone said: "Hey, we can make $X million more by producing a book!" This is a very lazy one. Great opportunity missed. Very disappointing.
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on 20 January 2014
No need to go into detail as to why this is a great book since there are so many reviews. But it is especially a good read for people who do not like to read a book from start to finish but want to pick selected bits of Salinger's life.
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on 24 July 2014
In a sense this is essential reading for the Salinger fan, in that it contains a lot of new information, and a lot of previously unseen photos, but to access that information you have to subject yourself to cretinous speculation and holier-than-thou pontificating, particularly from David Shields, an abject buffoon. The book is also very shoddily produced, poorly annotated, chaotically arranged. It doesn't even have an index. I have never seen a serious biography that lacked an index.
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