Manso, Peter 1940-

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Manso, Peter 1940-


Born December 22, 1940, in New York, NY; son of Leo (a painter) and Blanche Manso; married Susan Beges (a professor and medievalist), September 8, 1962. Education: Antioch College, A.B., 1961; Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1962; University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1968.


Agent—Scott Meredith Literary Agency, Inc., 845 3rd Ave., New York, NY 10022.


Taught at University of California, Berkeley, and Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; freelance writer.


Gold Prize, Atlanta Film Festival, 1974, for One by One.


(Editor) Running against the Machine: The Mailer-Breslin Campaign, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1969.

Vroom!!: Conversations with the Grand Prix Champions, Funk & Wagnalls (New York, NY), 1969.

(With Jackie Stewart) Faster!, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1972.

(With Ellen Hawkes) Shadow of the Moth: A Novel of Espionage with Virginia Woolf, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1983.

Mailer: His Life and Times, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1985.

Brando: The Biography, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1994.

Ptown: Art, Sex, and Money on the Outer Cape, Scribner (New York, NY), 2002.

Author of One by One (documentary film), 1974. Contributor to periodicals, including Harper's, Playboy, Oui, Sports Illustrated, and Sunday Times (London, England).


Author Peter Manso reportedly interviewed over 200 people during nearly four years of research for Mailer: His Life and Times. One of the most celebrated American novelists of the twentieth century, Norman Mailer was known for a tempestuous personal life which featured several marriages, a campaign to become mayor of New York City, and some notorious incidents of violence, in addition to compiling his literary canon. Commenting on Manso's technique in the Chicago Tribune, Seymour Krim found Manso to be a "shrewd collagist." Krim distilled Manso's technique by writing that Mailer "cuts up the tapes and inserts relevant and even sheer gossipy information in the appropriate slots, shifting from one voice to another in order to keep the action going. The result is fastpaced variety and often contradiction, the very qualities that are an indigenous trademark of Mailer's psychic arsenal."

Generally characterized as gossipy and somewhat sensationalistic, the book Mailer was referred to as "a sprawling, diffuse book in which the potential for a coherent analysis of Mailer's work and his impact on our society is lost in an unabashed celebration of celebrity" by Barbara Goldsmith in the New York Times Book Review. A more appreciative view was put forth by Mark Harris, writing for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, who reported that Manso "gives plenty of space and center-stage unselfishly to the sensationally articulate people who make this book so successful." Acknowledging both points of view, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote in the New York Times: "There is a sense in which [the book] seems just plain ridiculous…. And yet try dipping into Mr. Manso's interviews without at once becoming addicted. Try just skimming the text without getting hooked in the stage-by-stage unfolding of Norman Mailer's career. You can't."



Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 39, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1985.


AB Bookman's Weekly, December 5, 1994, review of Brando: The Biography, p. 2387.

American Literature, December, 1985.

Atlantic Monthly, June, 1985.

Best Sellers, July, 1985.

Booklist, September 15, 1994, review of Brando, p. 83.

Carleton Miscellany, spring, 1970.

Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1985, Seymour Krim, review of Mailer: His Life and Times.

Chicago Tribune Book World, March 20, 1983; September, 1994, review of Brando, p. 1.

Christian Science Monitor, November 7, 1994, review of Brando, p. 13.

Entertainment Weekly, September 23, 1994, Mark Harris, review of Brando, p. 60.

Films in Review, July, 1995, review of Brando.

Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, September-October, 2002, Michael Hattersley, review of Ptown: Art, Sex, and Money on the Outer Cape, p. 39.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), August 3, 1985.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1985; September 15, 1994, review of Brando, p. 1249; June 1, 2002, review of Ptown, p. 788.

Library Journal, April 15, 1985; November 15, 1994, review of Brando, p. 68.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, May 5, 1985, Mark Harris, review of Mailer; September 18, 1994, review of Brando, p. 1.

Modern Fiction Studies, winter, 1986.

National Observer, August 19, 1972.

National Review, January 13, 1970; May 17, 1985; July 26, 1985.

New Republic, June 24, 1985; December 5, 1994, review of Brando, p. 34.

Newsweek, June 10, 1985; September 12, 1994, review of Brando, p. 54.

New York Review of Books, May 11, 1995, review of Brando, p. 12.

New York Times, May 13, 1985, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Mailer.

New York Times Book Review, November 9, 1969; May 22, 1983; May 19, 1985, Barbara Goldsmith, review of Mailer; March 30, 1986; November 6, 1994, review of Brando, p. 25.

Observer (London, England), review of Brando, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, September 19, 1994, review of Brando, p. 56.

San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, July 2, 1972.

Sight and Sound, December, 1994, review of Brando, p. 36.

Time, July 1, 1985.

Times Literary Supplement, August 30, 1985.

Village Voice Literary Supplement, November, 1994, review of Brando, p. 28.

Wall Street Journal, May 31, 1985.

Washington Post Book World, May 19, 1985.

World and I, February, 1995, review of Brando, p. 326.

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Manso, Peter 1940-

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