Salinger (David Shields and Shane Salerno) - Simon & Schuster - 2013 - 698 pages

J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) was a lost and lonely man damaged forever by his World War II experiences.  He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day and slogged through 300 days of combat from the hedgerows, through Hurtgen Forest, to the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of the concentration camps.  He was probably a victim of PTSD neither diagnosed nor treated.  Salinger was a short-story writer before and after the war.  His fame was established in 1951 when he published a slim volume, The Catcher in the Rye, his only published novel that is really a collection of his Holden Caulfield (semi-autobiographic) short stories.  Salinger sank from public view after some of his short stories and novellas about his treasured but fictional "Glass" family received many negative reviews.  Authors Shields and Salerno have done an excellent job of piecing together a biography from the existing notes, letters, remembrances and accounts of the reclusive author.  Although Salinger claimed to be a lifelong writer, the bulk of his work is concentrated on the strange Glass family and will not be published until at least five years after his death at his request.  His fame is more a result of his quirky, anal, reclusive behavior than his reputation as a writer.  [JAM 3/15/2014]