Certainly shows the egree of male Crossfire (High Risk dominance in academia in the 1950s and laterescriptions of the ivorce underscore what a terribly creepy person Philip Rieff was but this story is a very minor sidelight in the bookMoser hints at an aspect of philosophy and public intellectual life that I fleshed out a little in my own mind though Moser himself was not this explicit He showed that Sontag got a classic 1940s intellectual education at the University of Chicago heavily influenced by Greek and Roman authors Marx Freud and many 18th century philosophers As a result she believed in isembodied mental images and philosophy She never subscribed at all to the post modernist realm in which Theory in academia became paramount to lives actually lived I say good for her for that Her legacy will live on long after the likes of Derrida and Foucault are forgottenIt is often said that Sontag and her contemporaries were the last generation of public intellectuals and there are no comparative figures today Some would respond by saying that the philosophers of the 21st century are in fields such as cognitive neuroscience and comparative microbiology I will go so far as to guess that if Sontag had encountered thinkers like Daniel Dennett and George Lakoff earlier in her career a physical impossibility unless she had been born later she would have eagerly followed the neuroscience philosophers and would have been at peace with her body and her sexuality as a result To cite but one example in Lakoff s work Philosophy in the Flesh he cites the key role of metaphor as being central to the hidden layer of the neural network one that makes philosophy and abstraction possible Moser makes metaphor central to his entire biography of Sontag Lakoff concludes his book by tossing out a good The Lady in the Tower deal of Plato Descartes Kant Marx Freud and others saying any philosophy that assumes the existence of aisembodied intelligence and that oes not center itself on emergent intelligence arising from the human body is next to worthless If Sontag and many of her contemporary philosophers had tossed out 34 of the classical education offered at University of Chicago Berkeley and most Ivy League schools in the 1940s and 1950s she might have been a much happier genius But of course then we would not have seen the 1960s trajectory of the public intellectual that we saw in SontagSontag often is cited as a New Left public intellectual but Moser said it is complex than that Sontag always was interested in meaning metaphor and representation than in ideology When she seemed to mouth platitudes in Havana or Hanoi it was often because she was not paying attention to realities on the ground another factor of being uncomfortable with her own being in the world rather than because she believed in any centralized socialist ideologies In talking about the evolution of New York public intellectual life in the 1950s through 1970s Moser shows what an inbred and cloistered group these writers were It wasn t just that people put up with sexist jackasses like Norman Mailer far longer than they should have It was that the editors of The New York Review of Books considered themselves far influential than they really were Moser brings up the case of the shunning of the radical poet Adrienne Rich Who the hell cares what these people thought It reminded me of the number of young novelists in the 1980s who centered their stories on lives and loves among Manhattan and Brooklyn literati Who the hell cares The artificial cultural island of New York uite simply idn t matter and Sontag was right to stop paying attention to her compatriots in many such mattersThe problem was she never id so with kindness or consistency a result of having no Buddhist or self love principles to fall back on Sontag would regularly shun betray or trash talk both close friends and lovers because she had no effective way of stating her independence without bad mouthing those she loved A classic case came in the post Yugoslavia wars largely initiated by the Serbs When Sontag made long stays in Sarajevo uring the siege of that city she rightly berated US and Western European intellectuals for their silence on Bosnia and their apparent willingness to give Slobodan Milosevic a free pass But there is a wrong and right way to berate One can snidely call a close ally a useful idiot yet still find a way to talk to them tomorrow but Sontag seemed to be an expert at permanently burning bridges Sure it showed her as an independent thinker but it Where We Belong did not show her as a kind personHer late life relationships particularly her oddeep love with photographer Annie Leibovitz were particularly abusive in this regard and once again it all boiled own to a fear of eath and a fear of the body Unfortunately some of these behaviors rubbed off on her son David Rieff who seemed to grow sullen and uncaring with others as he entered middle age It ended up making her twin memorial services following her eath a mockery an indication of all that had been broken in her way of seeing herself and othersMoser s epilogue aptly titled The Body and Its Metaphors concludes on a positive note by pointing out that she offered volumes of useful observations on the relationship between language and reality as well as the relation between image and reality In her book On Photography she explored what McLuhan had hinted at at how immediate visual access to information and later the impact of a always on Internet changed our perception of reality But in the new era of eepfakes we
can no longerno longer photographic or video evidence We may no longer be able to trust reality itself Where would Sontag have gone in exploring linguistic concepts of reality with the likes of Chomsky or Lakoff Moser points out that it s useless to ask how Sontag would have confronted problems arising later in the 21st century it s enough to know that she would have been the first to ask the right uestions Still it would have been interesting to see if a familiarity with the body might have made her a fundamentally happier person Susan was beyond all else an example She was an avatar of erudition and high purpose that we idn t have in American letters in the twentieth century The closest comparable know it all is Harold Bloom but he s a traditionalist Susan century The closest comparable know it all is Harold Bloom but he s a traditionalist Susan interested in the bleeding edge of culture the ifficult stuff that Red Notice demanded the most of us Whyid she never write on Straub Huillet She must have known that workMoser who seems to be part of this fellowship Les pingouins nont jamais froid diagnoses Susan as an Adult Child of Alcoholics He also makes a lot of hay out of Susan s not wanting to come out which in 2019 makes a little sense in that sheidn t wanted to be affixed with an ID card from Team Lesbian I suspect our current identity politics would have nauseated her There are some specious claims within such as her having balled Bobby Kennedy and Warren Beatty both of which I find REALLY hard to believe A tale of Warren s calling Susan Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone day and night is just pure silliness And there is a lot of evidence of Sudan the bad parent though she clearly loved her kid One particularly shocking moment features her taking off on a vacation abroad with a girlfriend at the moment her son goes into the hospital for cancer surgery Whato we learn about this protean genius this woman of infinite appetites She Code pnal 2020 annot. dition limite - 117e d. didn t like to bathe she ate gross food and she was so mean to people that by the 90smaybe even the 80sshe hadriven everyone away I must say I came away from Moser s wonderfully written sober practical and engaging biography withif not as much love for Susan as ever She was the person I wanted to be as a child the urban sophisticate who is the ultimate Cocteau like hyphenate and is right at the epicenter of the culture in every imaginable arena We live to be sure in a post Sontagian culture But The Peoples Songs does she not give us in this haplessly fallen world something to aspire toward 1030 this biography has inspired me to revisit some of the essays in Where the Stress Fallsismaying There comes a time to put away childish things This is kitsch Culture as kitschy Europhilia that s what Sontag really stood for in the end Long past time to read Pierre BourdieuFrom Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo the ultimate I m not racist but statement in highbrow ragEven uite well informed people in the United States and in Europe seem genuinely surprised when I mention that until the siege began a middle class Sarajevan was far likely to go to Vienna to the opera than to go own the street to a mosue I make this point not to suggest that the lives of non religious urban Europeans are intrinsically valuable than the lives of the Blind Devotion (The Shifter Chronicles devout of Tehran or Baghdad or Damascus Sheefends the My Name is Bob dignity of Muslim lives in Bosnia by suggesting they re not actually Muslims because uh they like opera If you can read the above without cringing you need to spend time in sports bars or maybe a mosue just a feways ago I felt somewhat ifferentlyI believe I ve read every Sontag book published in her life plus the two volumes of journals that came out posthumously But of course the real point of reading Susan Sontag wasn t reading her own books so much as reading all the books she recommends written by other people not to mention seeing all those movies she lists I owe a huge part of my reading life and general cultural education to Susan Sontag I m sure a lot of people on this site would say the same thing She s still the patron saint of self serious I refuse to say pretentious autodidacts Years before this biography Sontag had already been emystified by the revelations of her journals as well as a string of extremely unflattering sometimes hilarious memoirs by people who knew her Personally I like to think I grew out of my Sontag phase long ago and yet there is something permanently beguiling about her or at least the idea of herI was hoping Benjamin Moser s biography would let me Billy Bragg decide once and for all what I think of her Well it s an excellent book but itidn t Polly Prices Totally Secret Diary do that It seems undeniable Sontag could be aeeply loathsome person but still there was something in that pose that wasn t just a pose A seriousness worth taking seriousl. Undermined her writing And it shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevo and featuring nearly one hundred images Sontag is the first book based on the writer’s restricted archives and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag including Annie Leibovitz It is a efinitive portrait a great American novel in the form of a biography. ,
Sontag Her Life and Work 2019 written by Benjamin Moser totally captures the complexities of this ark literary lady and cultural icon Born Susan Rosenblatt 1933 2004 to Lithuanian Jewish parents Susan and her only son David Rieff would unapologetically change their given family name to Sontag It was impossible to contain Sontag s genius intellect and persona by the conventions of ordinary lifeThe mother The Majors Daughter daughterynamic shaped Sontag s character in numerous obvious and subtle ways Sontag adored her beautiful moody temperamental mother Mildred For reasons unknown Mildred Miss Shumway Waves a Wand declined to share theetails of Sontag s father s The Touch death with heraughters for several months and seemed to want his memory erased from the family history Moser suggested reasons for this were linked to Mildred s probable alcoholism and substance use though this was never a topic for polite On His Majestys Service discussionuring the time Mildred confessed that although she found her grandson David uite charming as a toddler she still Different Class didn t like childrenWhile still in high school before her admission to Berkley and the University of Chicago Susan interviewed the notable novelistpoet Thomas Mann several times Sontag was highly respected in college for her intellect and was popular with professors and students alike Sontag studied and wrote about Freud extensively Moserescribed various parts of Sontag s compartmentalized selfhood the private self the social self and the self of metaphor and mask that was carefully watched and observed closely but at a istance Through the 1970 s many mental health professionals and academics believed homosexuality could be changed at will Sontag had affairs with both men and women and usually eclined to share intimate Textbook of Wisdom details of her personal life with significant others Judith was shocked to learn her sister had female lovers many years after the factWhen Sontag was 17 she married 28 year old sociology instructor Philip Rieff m1950 59 Mildred typically had little to say about her new son in law The newlywed s celebrated by going out for burgers Susan is now recognized as the editortrue author of Freud The Mind of a Moralist 1959 Rieff reluctantly added Sontag s name as the co author in later editions of the book and never produced another book of similar uality Susan eventually insisted on the freedom that only aivorce could provide and promptly elected to travel abroad leaving David in the care of In Defence of Dogs domestic staff Rieffidn t take Sontag s eparture as easily as she had hoped For a period of time he stalked her and accused her of being an unfit mother Sontag feared she would lose custody of David After ecades and marriage to his second wife Rieff claimed Susan was indeed the love of his lifeSontag identified simply as a writer If she had come out of the closet or identified as a feminist she would have gained legions of support from the gay community and additional popular women s organizations and forums Moser observed that Sontag wouldn t have been as renowned and her work would have had less of an impact on all social and cultural levels had she publically identified as a lesbian or feminist author and noted the example of the authorpoet Adrienne Rich 1929 2012 to support his point of view By 1964 when Sontag taught at Colombia the numbers of Jewish students admitted to prestigious colleges and universities soared to 65% when The City in Mind discriminatory practices against them ended While Sontag was from sunny California most of her friends colleagues and other associates were from New York these Jewish intellectuals invented the genre of Literary Criticism Sontag s loyal friend Roger Strauss founder of FSG Publishing printed all of her books Strauss and Sontag helped launch the careers of many new writers through generous support and mentorshipIn theeclining years of her life Sontag was surprisingly cognizant and energetic sitting up in her hospital bed reading the paper and having the final word about her care Sontag s long term partner the iconic celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz flew her to Seattle for treatment at the Fred Hutchinson s Cancer Care Center Moser Revenge (The Red Ledger didn t seem to uncover many newetails other than what is already on record of their relationship nor is it surprising that Leibovitz would chose to No One Wants You document her relationship with Sontag and conseuently Sontag srastic The City Of Heavenly Tranquillity decline from cancer in her pictorial volume A Photographers Life 1990 2005 2006 The photographs are stunning though many critics haveeemed some the photographs of Sontag in poor taste Whether Sontag was writing about Vietnam Penguins Poems for Life during her stay in Hanoi in the 1960 s or war torn Sarajevo in the 1990 s or 911 she was always one step ahead of her time and Sontag s life and times are covered exceptionally well in the 832 pages of this book With thanks and appreciation to HarperCollins for the DDC for the purpose of review Sontag Her Life and Work 2019 written by Benjamin Moser totally captures the complexities of thisark literary lady and cultural icon Born Susan Rosenblatt 1933 2004 to Lithuanian Jewish parents Susan and her only son David Rieff would unapologetically change their given family name to Sontag It was impossible to contain Sontag s genius intellect and persona by the conventions of ordinary lifeThe mother aughter ynamic shaped Sontag s character in numerous obvious and subtle ways Sontag adored her beautiful moody temperamental mother Mildred For reasons unknown Mildred Declined To Share The Details Of declined to share the etails of s father s eath with her Divine Beauty daughters for several months and seemed to want his memory erased from the family history Moser suggested reasons for this were linked to Mildred s probable alcoholism and substance use though this was never a topic for politeiscussion uring the time Mildred confessed that although she found her grandson David uite charming as a toddler she still idn t like childrenWhile still in high school before her admission to Berkley and the University of Chicago Susan interviewed the notable novelistpoet
thomas mann severalMann several Sontag was highly respected in college for her intellect and was popular with professors and students alike Sontag studied and wrote about Freud extensively Moser Down to the Sea in Ships described various parts of Sontag s compartmentalized selfhood the private self the social self and the self of metaphor and mask that was carefully watched and observed closely but at aistance Through the 1970 s many mental health professionals and academics believed homosexuality could be changed at will Sontag had affairs with both men and women and usually Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides, declined to share intimateetails of her personal life with significant others Judith was shocked to learn her sister had female lovers many years after the factWhen Sontag was 17 she married 28 year old sociology instructor Philip Rieff m1950 59 Mildred typically had little to say about her new son in law The newlywed s celebrated by going out for burgers Susan is now recognized as the editortrue author of Freud The Mind of a Moralist 1959 Rieff reluctantly added Sontag s name as the co author in later editions of the book and never produced another book of similar uality Susan eventually insisted on the freedom that only a Dog Years divorce could provide and promptly elected to travel abroad leaving David in the care ofomestic staff Rieff Chain of Fire didn t take Sontag separture as easily as she had hoped For a period of time he stalked her and accused her of being an unfit mother Sontag feared she would lose custody of David After The Devils Elbow (Mrs. Bradley, decades and marriage to his second wife Rieff claimed Susan was indeed the love of his lifeSontag identified simply as a writer If she had come out of the closet or identified as a feminist she would have gained legions of support from the gay community and additional popular women s organizations and forums Moser observed that Sontag wouldn t have been as renowned and her work would have had less of an impact on all social and cultural levels had she publically identified as a lesbian or feminist author and noted the example of the authorpoet Adrienne Rich 1929 2012 to support his point of view By 1964 when Sontag taught at Colombia the numbers of Jewish students admitted to prestigious colleges and universities soared to 65% wheniscriminatory practices against them ended While Sontag was from sunny California most of her friends colleagues and other associates were from New York these Jewish intellectuals invented the genre of Literary Criticism Sontag s loyal friend Roger Strauss founder of FSG Publishing printed all of her books Strauss and Sontag helped launch the careers of many new writers through generous support and mentorshipIn the The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur declining years of her life Sontag was surprisingly cognizant and energetic sitting up in her hospital bed reading the paper and having the final word about her care Sontag s long term partner the iconic celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz flew her to Seattle for treatment at the Fred Hutchinson s Cancer Care Center Moseridn t seem to uncover many new Maharaj details other than what is already on record of their relationship nor is it surprising that Leibovitz would chose toocument her relationship with Sontag and conseuently Sontag s Kuduz drasticecline from cancer in her pictorial volume A Photographers Life 1990 2005 2006 The photographs are stunning though many critics have eemed some the photographs of Sontag in poor taste Whether Sontag was writing about Vietnam uring her stay in Hanoi in the 1960 s or war torn Sarajevo in the 1990 s or 911 she was always one step ahead of her time and Sontag s life and times are covered exceptionally well in the 832 pages of this book With thanks and appreciation to HarperCollins for the DDC for the purpose of review Well this was fantastic but also too long I guess you are supposed to say she was a complex person blah blah Who isn t My main thought while reading it what a nasty woman I pity her and also I would have never wanted to be in one room with her She is so obnoxious Her fear to be alone to be authentic to be happy She was such a manipulative mother judgmental hostile and elitist with a superiority complex with others and this whole time so insecure in her priv. The The Stanforth Secrets (Lovers and Ladies, definitive portrait of one of the American Century’s most towering intellectuals her writing and her radical thought her public activism and her hidden private faceNo writer is as emblematic of the American twentieth century as Susan Sontag Mythologized and misunderstood lauded and loathed a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics feminism and homosexuality celebrity and style medicine andrugs radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism that forms an indispensable Ate The Taste of Ashes diaries Such a sad and confused woman She supported Salman Rushdie and soviet poets fleeing their countries which I respect The same Salman later called her a bullying monster Sontag setermination to create an unreliable narrator is so reliable that it becomes tedious there is after all nothing here we relied on to begin with I just o not know where to start in escribing Sontag Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser It is very well researched As the title indicates it covers both her life and her works Her relationships with her mother her sister her one time husband her son her male and female lovers are all explored It took me a while to be rawn in She was both an aesthete and a highbrow intellectual This put me off at the start I like straight talk Initially I found her way of speaking too highfalutin too pretentious Peu peu I began to comprehend her way of being I got beyond her manner of expressing herself I began to understand the uestions she was asking and what she was searching for The author gives you her words from her journals and the words of both her friends and enemies I began to see how she was thinking At the beginning I was put off by the end I was thoroughly rawn in Both Sontag s positive as well as negative attributes are laid bare I came to care for her This The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, does not mean I like her Does this seem strange Well she is complicated and the book shows this amazingly well The thoughts that twirled through her head are fascinating once I got beneath the esoteric to what she wasriving at The issues she focused upon were important and are still relevant today She changed over time in other ways she China: la edad de la ambicin (Ensayo poltico) didn t change at all I can tell you I love how she searched for the truth At the same time she freuently lied No matter what I say I can say the opposite too She is shown to be weak and strong and so very human Sontag was a fascinating person Youon t have to like a person to find them fascinating You Green River Rising don t have to like a person to appreciate the things they haveone Admitting she was lesbian was an anathema for her Sexuality is tied to her whole way of being Coming out of the closet isn t an action it is a processThink about these lines All that we have is our opinion Never give that away Man is seen Women are looked at Happiness is a trivial subject There is a Wife Swap difference between being and pretending to bebetween being and playing a role Everyone was great friends and no one knew anybody The following amused me Susan remarks that she adores receiving guests butetests visiting others she adores giving advice but Pies detests being given advice from others Aren t you smiling Are you the same The list can be extended it is never ending Reading about her battles against cancer are excruciating Her engagement in Vietnam and Sarajevo are worthy of the highest praise Her cruelty to friends will make you cringe A second later she puts herself out on the line and helps a friend She was a woman of contradictions Read the book Don t be too hasty in judging it Give it time The audiobook is narrated by Tavia Gilbert She is just not one of my favorite narrators Her tone of voice irritates me She wants to pull listeners over the coals She pushes listeners to feel emotional I feel manipulated when I listen to her but the further I got the less attention I paid to the narration I had become too involved in Sontag s life story to even bother about the narration Gilbert is easy to follow and her French pronunciation is passable Three stars for the narrationSontag Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser 4 starsThe Volcano Lover A Romance DNF 45 A fascinating subject well served by a highly readable overview One slight problem you can t help but sense Moser picked Sontag not merely for her obvious status as intriguing cultural iconinfluencer and essayist but at least partly so he could write a sumptuous takedown Too often this reader felt credit was conferred just prior to another withering knock Sontag as Moser has it was generous only to people with whom she was casually intimate those close to her Annie Leibovitz her son David who she casuallyitched throughout his childhood bore the brunt of what was either a failure to empathise or straight out nastiness There is a little too much indulgence of this strain to render Sontag talented and even indispensable yet ultimately a failed person An obsession with the idea that Sontag projected who she was onto counterparts and subjects of criticism Indignation that she stayed in the closet Gorbals Diehards during the earlyays of AIDS when coming out may have helped From the Dust destigmatise the illness far than an essayerided for not going far enough There is ultimately a little too shrill a repetition of the biographer s Finale (Caraval, distaste as opposed to clear eyed assessment And Moser it has to be mentioned is subject to many of the criticisms he here levels at Sontag which may well inadvertently reveal some of his motivationYet Moser writes well and you ll come away ifampened by appreciation of her shortcomings in no Merlin and the Making of the King doubt as to Sontag s achievement and legacy as a fearless and mould breaking intellect She was unconventional tricky her behaviour often impossible to understand She treated people badly But she was a massively important trailblazer who championed and supported countless writers brought championed and supported countless writers brought of to the attention of a grateful readership wrote epochal works that still resound furthered the cause of casually stifled Saul Bellow stopped her getting a Macarthur fellowship she wasn t the only woman he blackballed for reasons that needn t be speculated women intellectuals to an enormousegree There is ultimately just a little too much emphasis on her failings and often too begrudging a testimony as to her achievements You may end up spending wasteful time wondering about Moser s "agenda as opposed to elighting in his fascinating uniue contradictory subject "as opposed to elighting in his fascinating uniue contradictory subject that s a shame A wonderful book Moser shows patience love intelligence and goodwill toward his subject Susan Sontag Most books I read on Sontag are by people who knew her personally and their books read like a revenge on her While reading Moser s book I never thought about the biographer He kept himself resolutely out of the book His focus remains on Sontag s life and her work I enjoyed reading Moser s take about Sontag s essays and her fiction and how her work intersect with the works of other authors Usually I prefer books no longer than 250 300 pages so reading this one is an exception A nice one Exhaustive in Mennyms Alone (Mennyms, detail Sontag meticulously charts the life and career of the famous essayist Across four wide ranging parts Moser considers how Sontag transformed from a would be academic with modest origins into an internationally recognized icon of Manhattanite sophistication Everything fans of the writer would want to know is here from facts about her traumatic upbringing and her coming of age to information about the composition of her major books and her political activism But the analysis is shallow Rather reductively Moser examines all of Sontag s life through the lens of her fraught relationship with her alcoholic mother he ignores or chastises as immature her most radical writings and intriguing stances and he pays scant attention to historical context and the tradition the writer worked within instead myopically focusing on therama of her personal relationships I found it a little bit odd that some reviewers of the ARC of this book complained that they Dreamwalker (The Ballad of Sir Benfro, did not want to waste 700 pages reading about such aifficult person I tend to think of gushing hagiographies of historical figures as being almost as creepy as biographies of high profile villains like Hitler or Napoleon It s far better to read in Akenfield detail about challenging personalities warts and all and Sontag certainly had her share of wartsSome may wonder in the opening pages if Benjamin Moser was the right person to pull this off since he tends to analyzeeep motivations in almost a post Freudian sense and offer the results as a true picture Certainly one could challenge his certainty if not his conclusions at times but the reason this ends up working is because Moser s conclusions ring true The book exceeds 700 pages because Moser wants to give us a flavor of all the Gym and Slimline decades from the 1940s to the early 2000s when Sontag influenced late 20th century politics culture and intellectual life And love her or hate her she certainlyid play a leading role in efining those worlds Moser is not afraid to say that many of her novels plays and film experiments were only partially successful but he concludes by showing that Sontag mattered in ways we may not fully understand for ecades to comeMoser Marginal Notes, Doubtful Statements digseeper than the simplest explanation to show why Sontag was often unhappy or willing to lash out at friends The most common view is that Sontag was never comfortable with the idea of coming out as a lesbian and to the end of her life resisted addressing any aspect of her gender identity Moser shows that there was a good The Clock Without a Face deal of truth in this but it was also related to Sontag s uncomfortable relationship with her own body She was not grounded in her body sheid not take care of her health but in her three bouts with cancer she seemed willing to abuse her body horribly merely to make sure her mind could go on Moser also takes the leap to say that the underlying challenge in both ueer politics and body familiarity was that Sontag was the child of an alcoholic Certainly her mother s odd and Captives of the Private House detached manner and Sontag s bitter relationship with her mom was reflected later in Sontag s own strange relationship with her son David Rieff Though Sontag herself never showed aspects of a substance abusive personality theamages wrought by even a single generation of parent with alcohol or Teaspoon and an Open Mind drug addiction can live on in many succeeding generationsThe juicy newsbyte that many publicists seem to focus on in this book is the revelation that Sontag essentially wrote the entirety of her ex husband Philip Rieff s 1950s book Freud The Mind of the Moralist I find this scarcely surprising and largely irrelevant because it was all so long ago and because Freud matters so little theseays It. Ey to modern culture She was there when the Cuban Revolution began and when the Berlin Wall came own; in Vietnam under American bombardment in wartime Israel in besieged Sarajevo She was in New York when artists tried to resist the tug of money and when many gave in No writer negotiated as many worlds; no serious writer had as many glamorous lovers Sontag tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based It explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face the broken relationships the struggles with her sexuality that animated and.