“Authors tend to think of The New York Times Book Review with a mixture of awe, fear, and reverence. One writer recently compared the Review to the Soviet-era Kremlin: a tremendously powerful institution with often inscrutable methods and protocols.
Thus it was big news earlier this year when editor Chip McGrath announced he was planning to leave the section. Soon thereafter, two top Times editors—including then-recently arrived executive editor Bill Keller—revealed in an interview that book coverage in both the Sunday section and the daily paper would likely move to ’emphasize nonfiction books, demote literary fiction, promote (judiciously) commercial novels.’ Across the country, writerly jaws dropped.
Enter Sam Tanenhaus, who took the helm of the Book Review in April after working for many years as a writer, reporter, and editor. He was most recently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, and he was also a Pulitzer finalist in 1998 for his biography of Whittaker Chambers.”
Interview with Tanenhaus by David S. Hirschman here.