The Press: Buckley, Berkley and Back

John Leonard is one of the two or three best literary critics in America, a fact that has been plain to New York Times readers since May 1969, when he became one of its book reviewers. To virtually any book, Leonard can apply intellect and language without sacrificing either. Last month, at 31, he was named the new editor of the New York Times Book Review, the paper's Sunday supplement that is the most widely distributed (1,400,000 copies) literary journal in the country.

"I'm nervous," says Leonard. "It will absorb as much energy as I...

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