When I found out that Peter Osnos had written a memoir, I put it at the top of my reading list. Granted, An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen, is a book that some readers wouldn’t have interest in, unless they appreciate journalism, history and the publishing industry. It so happens that I appreciate all three. Well, that, and the fact that Peter’s and my paths used to cross on occasion when I was the National Event Coordinator for Borders Books and based out of the Park Avenue, Manhattan location. Peter was the publisher of PublicAffairs titles and would often drop in to see how an author event I hosted was doing. At that time all I knew about Peter was that he was a respected publisher. It’s quite likely all he knew about me was that I was the young woman who introduced his author and made sure the signing that followed went smoothly. Now, after finishing his intriguing, page-turning book, I am astounded to read about his journey and all the impressive people with whom he worked. What was intriguing is the honesty and struggles that Peter dealt with…or admittedly didn’t prioritize.
The subtitle, Watching History Happen, makes perfect sense since Peter lived through many major events, from the Vietnam War to Watergate and so much more, events that we can now read about in some of those best-selling books he’s published over the years, including books by Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Tip O’Neill, Boris Yeltsin, Verdon Jordan, and many, many others.
When I first picked up the book, I skimmed through it, looking for photos and was disappointed that there weren’t any until I read on the jacket that the “book features a ‘virtual attic’ with more available at www.anespeciallygoodview.com.” Without a doubt, Peter has witnessed numerous changes in the publishing industry and the fact that readers can now click on the link to access a treasure trove of material is one of many. Either way, now that I’ve been on my own as a publishing consultant, (with a four-year stint as a bookstore owner on Long Island) I enjoyed reading about what once was even if I was only a distant spectator.