New fiction and nonfiction briefly noted; Thirty years at the Atlantic; Writers and Friends, by Edward Weeks. Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown & Co. 323 pp. $15.95.
This memoir of world events and writers' lives comes from the man who held the editorial helm of the Atlantic from 1938 to 1966. Weeks writes with charm and verve of his meetings with such remarkable literary men and women as Vladimir Nabokov, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Dylan Thomas. He takes us along as he moves through the thick of military and political events with Walter Lippmann , bomber pilots of the United States 8th Air Force, a cultural exchange group of American authors and editors in the Soviet Union. Throughout, his enthusiasm for his craft is palpable, and he manages to explain by demonstration the often mysterious or misunderstood role of an editor: midwife to works as yet unborn; nanny to those toddling through infancy toward independence and articulate speech. He is at his best when he remains in the background and lets the events and figures he's writing about command our full attention.