Never Say You’ve Had a Lucky Life

Audiobook Details


Joseph Epstein

Narrated By:

Fred Sanders


7 hrs and 39 mins

File Type:


Release Date:


File Size:

219.55 MB

Audiobook Summary

A rich and comic portrait of the radical changes in American life and the literary world over the last eighty years.

An autobiography usually requires a justification. The great autobiographies—those by Benvenuto Cellini, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Brooks Adams—were justified by their authors living in interesting times, harboring radically new ideas, or participating in great events. Joseph Epstein qualifies on none of these counts. His life has been quiet, lucky in numerous ways, and far from dramatic. But it has also been emblematic of the great changes in our country since World War II.

He grew up in a petit-bourgeois, Midwestern milieu, and the city of Chicago looms large in his life. He drew a lucky ticket in the parent lottery and his was a happy boyhood spent on playgrounds and hanging around drug stores. At high school dances, he was the rhumba king and at drive-in movies he was never allowed to go as far with girls as he so ardently desired. At twenty-six, after two years in the army, he found himself married, the father or stepfather of four children, and living in New York on the meager salary of a magazine subeditor. He was ablaze with ambition and fettered by frustration. He broke out by moving to Little Rock, Arkansas, to direct the city’s anti-poverty program at the height of the Civil Rights movement. His writing career blossomed, he began teaching at Northwestern University, and, for twenty-five years, edited one of great intellectual magazines.

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