George Plimpton's Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals--and a Few Unappreciative ...
On Sale: October 21, 2008
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Norman Mailer said that George Plimpton was the best-loved
man in New York. For more than fifty years, his friends
made a circle whose circumference was vast and whose center
was a fashionable tenement on New York’s East Seventy-
second street. Taxi drivers, hearing his address, would
ask, “Isn’t that George Plimpton’s place?” George was
always giving parties for his friends. It was one of the
ways this generous man gave back.
This book is the party that was George’s life–and it’s a
big one–attended by scores of people, including Peter
Matthiessen, Robert Silvers, Jean Stein, William Styron,
Maggie Paley, Gay Talese, Calvin Trillin, and Gore Vidal,
as well as lesser-known intimates and acquaintances, each
with candid and compelling stories to tell about George
Plimpton and childhood rebellion, adult indiscretions,
literary tastes, ego trips, loyalties and jealousies,
riches and drugs, and embracing life no matter the
In George, Being George people feel free to say what guests
say at parties when the subject of the conversation isn’t
around anymore. Some even prove the adage that no best-
loved man goes unpunished. Together, they provide a
complete portrait of George Plimpton. They talk about his
life: its privileged beginnings, its wild and triumphant
middle, its brave, sad end. They say that George was a man
of many parts: “the last gentleman”; founder and first
editor of one of our best literary magazines, The Paris
Review; the graceful writer who brought the New Journalism
to sports in bestsellers such as Paper Lion, Bogey Man, and
Out of My League; and Everyman’s proxy boxer, trapeze
artist, stand-up comic, Western movie villain, and Playboy
centerfold photographer. And one of the brave men who
wrestled Sirhan Sirhan, the armed assassin of his friend
Bobby Kennedy, to the ground.
A Plimpton party was full of intelligent, funny, articulate
people. So is this one. Many try hard to understand George,
and some (not always the ones you would expect) are
brilliant at it. Here is social life as it’s actually lived
by New York’s elites. The only important difference between
a party at George’s and this book is that no one here is
drunk. They just talk about being drunk.
George’s last years were awesome, truly so. His greatest
gift was to be a blessing to others–not all, sadly–and that
gift ended only with his death. But his parties, if this is
one, need never end at all.
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