Written by Jeet Heer tho:
While Podhoretz would’ve called himself a liberal in 1967, all the traits that led to his shift to the right in the early 1970s were already present in Making It. In the sharpest review of Making It, Wilfrid Sheed accurately describes it as having a “Ayn-Rand-and-water” program. Podhoretz’s hatred of the New Left was rooted in the simple fact that they were trying to overthrow the very establishment he had made such an effort to join.
The figure Podhoretz ultimately resembles is not Charles de Gaulle but a more contemporary statesman. Making It is the story of a boy from the outer boroughs who dreams of succeeding with the Manhattan elite. A relentless self-promoter he finds fame, yet he can’t quite shake the feeling that the more genteel members of the establishment don’t like him. Full of racial resentment, he is also quick to deride the losers and haters who criticize him. Podhoretz even has some advice on how to make deals. (“Advice to Young Men: The best way to get a job you really want is to believe that you really don’t want it.”)
Norman Podhoretz is the Donald Trump of American literature and Making It is his Art of the Deal. That’s a sad strange fate for what was once a promising Brownsville boy who loved Keats and wanted to be a poet.
(Actually, I’m more intrigued by what the new intro by Terry Teachout is like.)