THE PLANK DECEMBER 15, 2006
It's hard not to laugh, or at least smile, when you see, say, Larry McMurtry give glowing praise to Gore Vidal's new memoir in the New York Review of Books. After all, this is the publication commonly known as the New York Review of Each Other's Books. But on the incestuous reviewing front, I was glad to see that National Review is giving NYRB a run for its money. In the latest issue, the first back-of-the-book essay heaps fawning praise on John O'Sullivan's new history of Reagan, Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II (all heroes of freedom, coincidentally). O'Sullivan, of course, is one of NR's editors-at-large. The ensuing piece is a glowing encomium to... wait for it... senior editor David Pryce-Jones's newest book. And this particular review is courtesy of contributing editor David Frum. Here's a small snippet:
Pryce-Jones relates this history with his characteristic literary force, but without rancor or overstatement. Pryce-Jones is a man deeply at home in France and keenly aware of the French intellectual tradition. He writes with sadness and regret, not anger. As readers of NR well know, his excellence as a writer is based above all on his fineness as a man: generous, humane, and fair-minded.
I guess he liked the book. --Isaac Chotiner