This Oxford University Press book retails for $30. Edited by Robert Wyatt and John Andrew Johnson, it is organized into eight sections: Portraits of the Artist, The Growing Limelight (1919-1924), Fame and Fortune (1924-1930), Maturity (1930-1935, Porgy and Bess, Last Years: Hollywood (1936-1937), Obituaries and Eulogies, and As Time Passes. There are 83 reading selections in all. Some are contemporary reports, essays, letters, biographies; some are backward looks written since the composer's death.
In short, this can be used as a sourcebook for those studying various aspects of Gershwin's life and works (practically the same things) or read for pure enjoyment. My favorite anecdote that so wonderfully reveals the innocent egotism of GG is the story told on pp. 181-182 about a remark he made to composer Harry Ruby and his reaction to being reminded of it two years later. Priceless.
Each selection is introduced by the editors, who give background information about what is to be discussed and the persons involved. There is no dearth of negative criticism about GG's "classical" compositions; and they have even included one which states that Gershwin could not have written the music attributed to him. (The implication is that no Jewish composer could have done that well, a strong echo of Wagner's identical claim, and then contradicted by the writer's claiming the music is bad anyway!)
This OUP book is the very model of what a "reader" should be-and teachers and students of the history of American music, I will be making great use of the information therein.
Need I add, Highly Recommended?