John Leonard estimated that he read 13,000 books and published more than five million words in his lifetime. For 50 years, before his death of lung cancer in 2008, he was the most relentless and generous of critics. He started out, before he dropped out of Harvard, in the pages of the Crimson, parodying the Cambridge coffeehouse scene and panning Monocle, a humor magazine run out of Yale by Victor Navasky, who invited him to write for Monocle, where he parodied National Review, which got William Buckley to give him a job there, at a time when the contents page—featuring Joan Didion, Garry Wills and Renata Adler—read like a preview of the New York Review of Books. At National Review he could throw acid on Greenwich Village, which was apparently spoiled before Bob Dylan got there, and declare the death of the Beat Generation, but he had to move to Pacifica Radio in Berkeley to hate on Nixon with impunity and put Pauline Kael on the air. Read More
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