Dilettante reveals Dana Brown's most memorable moments from the halcyon days of the magazine business, explores his own journey as an unpedigreed outsider to established editor, and shares glimpses of some of the famous and infamous stories (and people) that tracked the magazine's extraordinary run all keenly observed by Brown.
Brown is a red-blooded storyteller; his recollections of memorable interactions with Christopher Hitchens and a pre-politics Donald Trump are among Dilettante's sublime set pieces. Brown is also a loyalist, and readers expecting trash talk about the worker bees of 350 Madison Avenue will instead find an exposé of the overwhelmingly good behavior of Vanity Fair's staff and contributors. Dilettante is a salute to an industry and its practitioners, those who were making a meaningful cultural contribution even while they were trying their damnedest to drain Condé Nast's fathomless expense account.
Those who read Vanity Fair during those halcyon days when it helped set the cultural agenda will appreciate Brown’s style: witty, smart, knowing, and topped with a dollop of wonder at getting as far as he did. There’s name dropping but not much dishing, as Brown seems to have liked most everyone he encountered (except Fran Lebowitz). The insider angle will draw readers, but it’s the vivid recollections of publishing in the grips of change that will linger.