Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York A double memoir, Back Then recounts the husband-and-wife authors' parallel postwar upbringings and eventual intersection on the publishing track, giving a nostalgic glimpse of the… Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York A double memoir, Back Then recounts the husband-and-wife authors' parallel postwar upbringings and eventual intersection on the publishing track, giving a nostalgic glimpse of the… Nonfiction William Morrow
Book Review

Back Then: Two Lives in 1950s New York

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Writers: Anne Bernays, Justin Kaplan; Genre: Nonfiction; Publisher: William Morrow

A double memoir, Back Then recounts the husband-and-wife authors' parallel postwar upbringings and eventual intersection on the publishing track, giving a nostalgic glimpse of the city before it became the millennium capital of the world. While Bernays' and Kaplan's lives are enviously privileged, their anecdotes are all proffered with a well-written, self-deprecating touch that's hard to resist. On William Faulkner unexpectedly arriving at one of their dinner parties: ''It may be thrilling to realize that the man standing next to you is a writer from Olympus, but the psychic space between you is as wide as if you had four legs and fur and he two and feathers.'' A captivating look at a bygone era.

Originally posted Jun 14, 2002 Published in issue #658 Jun 14, 2002 Order article reprints