Kitman, Marvin 1929–
Kitman, Marvin 1929–
(William Randolph Hirsch)
Born November 24, 1929, in Pittsburgh, PA; son of Myer and Rose Kitman; married Carol Sibushnick, October 28, 1951; children: Jamie Lincoln, Suzy, Andrea Jordana. Education: City College (now of the City University of New York), B.A., 1953.
Home—Leonia, NJ. E-mail—[email protected]
Journalist, writer. Armstrong Daily, New York City, columnist, 1956-66; New Leader, New York City, television critic, 1967—. News managing editor of Monocle, 1963—, member of board of directors of Monocle Periodicals, 1966—, founding partner of Monocle Book Division, 1968. Staff writer for Saturday Evening Post, 1965-66; senior copy writer for Carl Ally, Inc. (advertising agency), 1967-68. Critic-at-large for "Harper News," on WPIX-TV, 1973-74; cocreator of "Ball Four," a series on CBS-TV, 1976. Humorist-in-residence for Solow/Wexton, Inc., 1966-67; lecturer at colleges and universities; Newsday, Melville, NY, media critic, 1969-2005. Military service: U.S. Army, 1953-55.
The Number-one Best Seller (autobiography), Dial Press (New York, NY), 1966.
(Under pseudonym William Randolph Hirsch; with Lingeman and Navasky) The RCAF (Red Chinese Air Force) Exercise, Diet, and Sex Book, Stein & Day (Briarcliff Manor, NY), 1967.
You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover (autobiography), Weybright (New York, NY), 1970.
George Washington's Expense Account, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1970, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2000.
The Marvin Kitman TV Show, Dutton (New York, NY), 1972.
(With Richard Lingeman, Victor Navasky, and others) The Coward's Almanac, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1975.
I Am a VCR: A Book by TV's Number 1 Critic about Sex & Violence, Dynasty & Dallas, T & A, NY & L.A., Drugs, Roone Arledge and Hero Cars, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.
The Making of the President 1789: The Unauthorized Campaign Biography, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1989, published with a foreword by John Cleese, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2000.
The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O'Reilly, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2007.
Author of "The Marvin Kitman Show," a column for Newsday and Los Angeles Times Syndicate, 1969—. Contributor of articles and reviews to magazines.
Longtime media critic Marvin Kitman is the author of numerous books, many of which have a humorous or unorthodox approach to current events and history. Thus, his 1989 title (reprinted in 2000), The Making of the President 1789: The Unauthorized Campaign Biography is a work in which the author, "with tongue in cheek, reinterprets Washington in terms of the 1990s," according to Social Studies reviewer Ronald H. Pahl. Kitman does not rewrite history; rather he retells it in a parlance that modern readers, and those accustomed to the excesses of campaign rhetoric, would understand. So, for example, in terms of George Washington's record as a military man, "Kitman puts Washington's Revolutionary War record in terms that we can easily understand: two wins, nine losses, and one tie," Pahl noted. Kitman further focuses on Washington's savvy use of appearances, always having a white horse available for his appearances and saving himself the embarrassment of public speeches (he was not a good speaker) by simply giving his ghost-written speeches to the newspapers to publish. Pahl went on to conclude: "Kitman did his homework and produced one of the most enlightened and delightful biographies of our first president in recent years." Similarly, Richard Lingeman, writing in the Nation, commented that while "Washington scholars will undoubtedly condemn this book as lese-majeste, or else ignore it, hoping it will go away … students of presidential character, however, will find Kitman's scholarship a gold mine of insights, not only into Washington but into the author."
Kitman gets beneath the surface of a far different personality in his 2007 work, The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O'Reilly, a biography of the conservative television commentator noted for his belligerent interviewing style. According to Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush, Kitman does not take sides in the debate over the controversial O'Reilly but instead, by using interviews from supporters and critics alike, "evokes O'Reilly's early rebellious spirit and pugnacious character." Bush went on to opine that while Kitman's book will be unlikely to change the way people think about the commentator, "it may lower the volume of the discussion." Similarly, Michael O. Eshleman, writing in Library Journal, thought Kitman "has done America a service by providing a biography of Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that neither damns nor sanctifies him." For Eshleman, this was "a good first biography." Likewise, a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that "Kitman's reportage on this paradoxical, maddening yet inspiring man does a fine job in letting the reader decide."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Spectator, April 1, 2007, review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O'Reilly, p. 68.
Biography, March 22, 2007, Jacob Heilbrunn, review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up, p. 286.
Booklist, December 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up, p. 6.
Journal of the Early Republic, December 22, 1991, review of The Making of the President 1789: The Unauthorized Campaign Biography, p. 553.
Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Michael O. Eshleman, review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up, p. 134.
Nation, April 23, 1990, Richard Lingeman, review of The Making of the President 1789, p. 566.
New York Times Book Review, January 14, 2007, Jacob Heilbrunn, review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up, p. 20.
Publishers Weekly, November 6, 2006, review of The Man Who Would Not Shut Up, p. 52.
Social Studies, January-February, 1993, Ronald H. Pahl, review of The Making of the President 1789, p. 45.
Marvin Kitman Home Page,http://www.marvinkitman.com (October 24, 2007).