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Who is Bob Silvers and What Did He Do for The New York Review of Books?

abstract:Writing an e-magazine of sorts I'm in awe of this man. Everyone has their hero, but I invite you to read excerpts of this article in The Guardian and see what I mean. 


January 27, 2004
— "Four decades ago Robert Silvers helped to found the New York Review of Books and it soon became the voice of liberal American intellectuals. Now 74, he is still in charge - tirelessly running a journal that is widely admired for its unashamed elitism and rigorous scepticism" Andrew Brown reports in his profile for The Guardian.


"There is only one story you need to know about Bob," says the writer Timothy Garton Ash. "Four o'clock on Christmas day: the family is gathered around the turkey, and the phone rings. It's Bob. 'Tim,' he says, 'How are you doing? On column six of the third galley, there's a dangling modifier.'"


"The magazine he has produced is unique. The 900 issues of the Review to date provide a history of the cultural life of the east coast since 1963. It manages to be scrupulous without pedantry, and serious with a fierce democratic edge. The articles are written as if any intelligent reader would care about the politics of Azerbaijan or the condition of cowboys in the late 19th century, if only they knew enough about it. It is one of the last places in the English-speaking world that will publish long essays, many two or three times the length of this profile; and possibly the very last to combine academic rigour - even the letters to the editor are footnoted - with great clarity of language."


Robert Silvers - Life at a Glance

Born: December 31, 1929, Mineola, New York.

Educated: University of Chicago; Sorbonne; École Polytechnique, Paris.

Career: 1950 press secretary to governor of Connecticut Chester Bowles.

US Army service: 1950-53.

Publishing: 1954-58 managing editor Paris Review; '58-63 associate editor Harpers Magazine; '63- co-editor, The New York Review of Books.

Events: The annual Robert B. Silvers lectures at the New York Public Library were established by Max Palevsky and started two years ago with one given by Joan Didion.


Dogonit. I'm sure now you'll want to read the whole article in The Guardian.




Books by Robert B. Silvers

Hidden Stories of Science, New York Review of Books (March 2003) "In a wonderfully readable collection of original essays, five eminent writers—Oliver Sacks, Jonathan Miller, Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel J. Kevles, and R.C. Lewontin—explore forgotten and neglected aspects of the history of science." Review


The Legacy of Isaiah Berlin, New York Review of Books (April 2002)  "In 1998, a year after the death of philosopher Isaiah Berlin, a group of scholars convened to discuss his work, particularly the moral, ideological, ethnic, and cultural aspects of pluralism."  Review


India: A Mosaic, New York Review of Books, Book and CD edition (January 2000) "How can we understand India today, fifty years after Independence and only months after its nuclear tests outraged the world? The novelist Arundhati Roy has written, specially for this collection, a fierce denunciation of the Indian nuclear program, which serves as an introduction to nine essays on India, all originally published in The New York Review of Books. " Review


The First Anthology in 30 Years of The New York Review of Books
(October 1994)
"Addressing politics and culture in essays both analytical and personal, these 23 pieces provide an absorbing and varied sample of the NYRB 's intellectual engagement." Publishers Weekly

By Paula Shackleton



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