Books: Anniversary Waltz

HERE AT THE NEW YORKER

by BRENDAN GILL

406 pages. Illustrated. Random House.

$12.95.

The New Yorker Founder and Editor Harold Ross was a man of many maxims. Among them: "Nobody gives a damn about a writer or his problems except another writer." Assuming that his readers had no interest in reading about his writers, Ross kept intramural gossip out of his magazine, and so has his successor William Shawn. Yet neither editor could stem the tide of moonlight memoirs by New Yorker staffers. James Thurber gave Ross himself a full-dress treatment in The Years with Ross (1959). Now, on the magazine's 50th birthday...

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