An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2013: Salinger-ians – those who are obsessed with the fabulously successful and famously reclusive Catcher in the Rye author– will find much to argue about in this oral history by filmmaker Shane Salerno (whose related movie is released September 6) and co-writer David Shields. According to the authors and the dozens of people they interviewed, Salinger was an adolescent-girl-obsessed, religious fanatic who suffered from a kind of lifelong PTSD from his years in WWII as well as an embarrassing (to him) physical deformity; he also, according to the authors, used his reclusiveness to his own advantage, stepping out to the press and public when it suited him and the mythology they contend he at least partially created. But even those who couldn’t care less about “the finest mind ever to stay in prep school,” (Norman Mailer) will find themselves surprisingly engaged: from snippets about Salinger’s thwarted love affair with Eugene O’Neill’s daughter Oona, who dumped him for Charlie Chaplin to a lit-crit lesson on how Mark David Chapman could have possibly read Catcher as a manifesto urging him to kill John Lennon, this book says more than most about the world of writing, celebrity and American culture in the 20th century. --Sara Nelson

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