This work lends itself very well to the audio format with superb performances and interpretation by the narrators. It is certainly a documentary format and that seems to be an obstacle for others who have posted comments.
Rich Seeley's review pretty much covers it, "Good biographical details marred by over analysis". I am not a Vedanta devotee, but certainly recognize that the Shields/Solerno team missed the mark when they over and over try to blame religion, particularly eastern philosophies, for "killing" Salinger's art and shaping his idiosyncratic behavior. Their repeated cherry-picking of religious teachings in attempt to explain Salinger's choices are disappointing. Religion is not the cause of anything, rather a symptom of mental health issues and how Salinger chose to deal with them. These mental health issues certainly had root even before Salinger's war experiences. I found the Shields/Solerno commentary, while at times informative and of merit, a little too certain in its conclusions, presumptuous.
Still, the uneasiness created by the critical interludes of Shields and Solerno is far out-weighed by an incredible range of interviews that reconstruct a significant amount of Salinger's life experiences and give depth to his character. The interviewees are largely respectful and the authors seem to take care in balancing the criticism.
I expect we are years away from a definitive biography, and I, like many, are certainly looking forward to Salinger's writing that is expected to be released beginning in 2015. Until then, with this publication we can make good ground on understanding the person and his work.
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