Friday, September 18, 2009

Amelia Earhart: Publicity Whore?

Check out Judith Thurman's "Missing Woman" from The New Yorker, which chronicles Amelia Earhart's life and her relationship with the media. It's fascinating, including this bit about her agent's use of the publishing industry:

Her image was managed aggressively by Putnam, a scion of the publishing house G. P. Putnam’s Sons, and one of the first ├╝ber-agents. He specialized in celebrity true-life adventure stories, and he had signed up Lindbergh to chronicle his flight to Paris for the Times (which paid him sixty thousand dollars), then turned the articles into a book that sold some six hundred thousand copies. Even before Putnam met Earhart, he had caught wind of the Guest project—and his next best-seller. [...] Her legend, to a large degree, was Putnam’s creation. He brokered her lecture tours, book contracts, columns, product endorsements, and media exposure, and he was so proprietary that a rival of Earhart’s described him as her Svengali.
Relevant from a "literary" standpoint? Possibly not. Interesting? Definitely.

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