Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


A Biography

Paul Alexander

Renaissance Books



J.D. Salinger was one of the twentieth century's greatest writers. He was also one of its most elusive. After making his mark on the American literary scene, Salinger retreated to a small town in New Hampshire where he hoped to hide his life away from the world. With dogged determination, however, journalist and biographer Paul Alexander captured Salinger's story in this, the only complete biography of Holden Caulfield's creator published to date. Using the archives at Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, NYU and the New York Public Library as well as research in New York and New Hampshire, Alexander has created a great biography of Salinger that's further enriched by interviews with some of the greatest literary figures of our time: George Plimpton, Gay Talese, Ian Hamilton, Harold Bloom, Roger Angell, A. Scott Berg, Robert Giroux, Ved Mehta, Gordon Lish and Tom Wolfe.


Praise for Salinger

“The most comprehensive biography to date has been Paul Alexander's 'Salinger' (1999)...[it] is, to my mind, more dramatically vivid and psychologically astute.” —Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review, Feb. 13, 2011

“As good a biography of Salinger as we're likely to get for awhile. Alexander…[has] succeeded in placing Salinger in the context of his times, and in finding in the author's life seeds of inspiration for his fiction.” —Boston Globe

“It is safe to say that Alexander will not be making any friends among the faithful by bringing us even closer to a man who wants to be known only as the creator of Holden Caulfield.” —New York Magazine

“Alexander has drawn an eerie portrait of an increasingly eccentric writer whose attempts to maintain his privacy [are] actually…a manipulative way of promoting himself and his books.” —Library Journal

“Alexander documents, among other things, Salinger's nervous breakdown after World War II; his hatred of New York publishers; his hatred of Hollywood; and his ugly divorce from Claire Douglas.” —Liz Smith

“For hardcover fans, this biography is a must.” —Toronto Sun

“Alexander's volume is a major publishing event…A skilled investigative reporter, journalist, and biographer, Alexander surveyed numerous archives…to get his ‘story'…Strongly recommended.” —Choice

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Paul Alexander

PAUL ALEXANDER is the author of many biographies, including Rough Magic, a biography of Sylvia Plath; Man of the People, a biography of John McCain; and Machiavelli's Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove. His nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, New York Magazine, and The Daily Beast.

Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander

From the Publisher

Renaissance Books

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