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The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism

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This fascinating compilation of the journalist's art unites the reporter's magnificent eye for detail with the novelist's gift for storytelling. Featuring eyewitness accounts of war and social revolution, profiles of sports heroes and politicians, and eye-opening investigations into both the mundane and the eccentric details of life, it includes: Includes: Preface by Ben Ya This fascinating compilation of the journalist's art unites the reporter's magnificent eye for detail with the novelist's gift for storytelling. Featuring eyewitness accounts of war and social revolution, profiles of sports heroes and politicians, and eye-opening investigations into both the mundane and the eccentric details of life, it includes: Includes: Preface by Ben Yagoda Making Facts Dance by Kevin Kerrane from The True and Genuine Account of the Life and Actions of the Late Jonathan Wild by Daniel Defoe from The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell Watercress Girl by Henry Mayhew The Great Tasmania's Cargo by Charles Dickens from Specimen Days by Walt Whitman from If Christ Came to Chicago by W. T. Stead When Man Falls, a Crown Gathers by Stephen Crane An Experiment in Misery by Stephen Crane The Death of Rodriguez by Richard Harding Davis Can't Get Their Minds Ashore by Abraham Cahan Pillelu, Pillelu! by Abraham Cahan from The People of the Abyss by Jack London Drift by Morris Markey from Ninety Times Guilty by Hickman Powell Juke Joint by Walter Bernstein from Hiroshima by John Hersey The Day of the Fight by W. C. Heinz from "Portrait of Hemingway" by Lillian Ross Two Generals by Norman Lewis The Silent Season of a Hero by Gay Talese from In Cold Blood by Truman Capole from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe from Alive by Piers Paul Read from House by Tracy Kidder from Brothers by Sylvester Monroe and Peter Goldman So ... We Meet at Last, Mr. Bond by Bob Greene Shadow of a Nation by Gary Smith from What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer The Spike by George Orwell from "The Bronx Slave Market" by Marvel Cooke from The Earl of Louisiana by A. J. Liebling The Fight to Live by Al Stump from The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer from "The Scum Also Rises" by Hunter S. Thompson The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones by Ron Rosenbaum from Coyotes by Ted Conover from "The Snap Revolution" by James Fenton Tiananmen Square by John Simpson from Among the Thugs by Bill Buford from Whoredom in Kimmage by Rosemary Mahoney from "Harlem on My Mind" by Lawrence Otis Graham from "Snake Handling and Redemption" by Dennis Covington The Pig by Ben Hecht Japanese Earthquake by Ernest Hemingway from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee The Third Winter by Martha Gellhorn Marrakech by George Orwell Lady Olga by Joseph Mitchell from Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West from Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck Lethal Lightning by Jimmy Cannon It's an Honor by Jimmy Breslin The Girl of the Year by Tom Wolfe Los Angeles Notebook by Joan Didion from The Pine Barrens by John Mcphee from Dispatches by Michael Herr from Another Day of Life by Ryszard Kapuscinski from Homicide by David Simon from Boys in Zinc by Svetlana Alexiyevich Holiday Pageant: The Importance of Being Bluebell by Michael Winerip


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This fascinating compilation of the journalist's art unites the reporter's magnificent eye for detail with the novelist's gift for storytelling. Featuring eyewitness accounts of war and social revolution, profiles of sports heroes and politicians, and eye-opening investigations into both the mundane and the eccentric details of life, it includes: Includes: Preface by Ben Ya This fascinating compilation of the journalist's art unites the reporter's magnificent eye for detail with the novelist's gift for storytelling. Featuring eyewitness accounts of war and social revolution, profiles of sports heroes and politicians, and eye-opening investigations into both the mundane and the eccentric details of life, it includes: Includes: Preface by Ben Yagoda Making Facts Dance by Kevin Kerrane from The True and Genuine Account of the Life and Actions of the Late Jonathan Wild by Daniel Defoe from The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell Watercress Girl by Henry Mayhew The Great Tasmania's Cargo by Charles Dickens from Specimen Days by Walt Whitman from If Christ Came to Chicago by W. T. Stead When Man Falls, a Crown Gathers by Stephen Crane An Experiment in Misery by Stephen Crane The Death of Rodriguez by Richard Harding Davis Can't Get Their Minds Ashore by Abraham Cahan Pillelu, Pillelu! by Abraham Cahan from The People of the Abyss by Jack London Drift by Morris Markey from Ninety Times Guilty by Hickman Powell Juke Joint by Walter Bernstein from Hiroshima by John Hersey The Day of the Fight by W. C. Heinz from "Portrait of Hemingway" by Lillian Ross Two Generals by Norman Lewis The Silent Season of a Hero by Gay Talese from In Cold Blood by Truman Capole from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe from Alive by Piers Paul Read from House by Tracy Kidder from Brothers by Sylvester Monroe and Peter Goldman So ... We Meet at Last, Mr. Bond by Bob Greene Shadow of a Nation by Gary Smith from What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer The Spike by George Orwell from "The Bronx Slave Market" by Marvel Cooke from The Earl of Louisiana by A. J. Liebling The Fight to Live by Al Stump from The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer from "The Scum Also Rises" by Hunter S. Thompson The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones by Ron Rosenbaum from Coyotes by Ted Conover from "The Snap Revolution" by James Fenton Tiananmen Square by John Simpson from Among the Thugs by Bill Buford from Whoredom in Kimmage by Rosemary Mahoney from "Harlem on My Mind" by Lawrence Otis Graham from "Snake Handling and Redemption" by Dennis Covington The Pig by Ben Hecht Japanese Earthquake by Ernest Hemingway from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee The Third Winter by Martha Gellhorn Marrakech by George Orwell Lady Olga by Joseph Mitchell from Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West from Once There Was a War by John Steinbeck Lethal Lightning by Jimmy Cannon It's an Honor by Jimmy Breslin The Girl of the Year by Tom Wolfe Los Angeles Notebook by Joan Didion from The Pine Barrens by John Mcphee from Dispatches by Michael Herr from Another Day of Life by Ryszard Kapuscinski from Homicide by David Simon from Boys in Zinc by Svetlana Alexiyevich Holiday Pageant: The Importance of Being Bluebell by Michael Winerip

30 review for The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elliot A

    There is disappointment after having finished a book that didn’t live up to one’s expectations, nay, hope. And then there is whatever I’m feeling right now, which is probably the cause for that big blue vein inside my head throbbing with increasing pain. It isn’t even noon yet, but I have had my day’s share of caffeine, been prowling the kitchen for more chocolate and I think I’m starting to get heartburn. Enough stereotypes for you yet? Well, let me take you on a journey of even greater gender There is disappointment after having finished a book that didn’t live up to one’s expectations, nay, hope. And then there is whatever I’m feeling right now, which is probably the cause for that big blue vein inside my head throbbing with increasing pain. It isn’t even noon yet, but I have had my day’s share of caffeine, been prowling the kitchen for more chocolate and I think I’m starting to get heartburn. Enough stereotypes for you yet? Well, let me take you on a journey of even greater gender stereotypes, lack of diversity in writing and the general idea that journalistic writing can only be published in The New Yorker or The New York Times. This anthology is required reading for my creative nonfiction course and rest assured, the issues I am outlining here I have also brought to the attention of my fellow students and professor. I am quite aware that the subtitle of this anthology reads “a historical anthology of literary journalism”, but I can assure you that women have learned to write nonfiction much longer than 20 years ago. At first I was intrigued by the historical articles that were included by Defoe, Dickens, Whitman and London, but by the beginning of “Telling Tales” on page 93 I grew weary and tired of the constant glorification of male writers, their great education and courage to “go undercover to report real life” and the general representation of women only as prostitutes or madams, which stretches throughout the remainder of the anthology. Each article begins with a short biography of the author’s life and work, written by one of the two editors and I have noticed differences in the style and depth of information provided with respect to the male and very few female writers they have included. Regarding the biographies of the male writers, the reader obtains a quick, yet thorough overview of the author’s credentials, educational and professional, as well as a few snippets about the author’s personality. In contrast, the female authors’ biographies contain generic information such as “after college” (252) without any indication of divulging which college the author, in this case, Marvel Cooke, attended. The editor makes a point of mentioning that she worked for Du Bois and her writing is compared to another male author in this anthology, just like the rest of the female authors included. As I mentioned above, the representation of women within the articles include that of prostitutes, madams, women who have fallen from grace and rather strong commentary on a woman as a professional in the world of journalism: We were in company with Margaret Dixon, editor of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, one of the few people in Louisiana who could usually get along with Earl. She is the kind of woman motherless drunks turn to instinctively to tell their troubles with their wives. (259) What exactly does that have to do with the fact that a female fellow journalist/editor is among them? Later on, starting at page 367, so relatively far into the historical examination of the chronological order of literary journalism, a chapter written by a female author is included, which once again, deals with prostitution, "Whoredom in Kimmage: Irish Women Coming of Age". Not much of relevance is mentioned in the author’s dismally short biography section and quite frankly after having to read about women only with respect to the oldest service industry in human history, even a well written chapter on women’s roles in society in the early 1990’s, asked too much patience of the reader. Plainly put: what about the letters, memoirs and diaries that were written by women through the ages that tell of their struggles to deal with a society and expectations that put them in social isolation and from achieving their full potentials in a world dominated by the other sex? One thing I haven’t mentioned yet, but is equally important is the fact that from what I can tell, there was only one article written by a woman of colour; there was no ethnic or racial diversity whatsoever. In that respect it represents history probably quite accurately: it is dictated by white men. Overall, call me a feminist; call this a rant. Call me a ranting feminist, I really do not care. It is 2019 and it is about time we stop accepting the dangerous mantra of “we have always done it this way” and re-evaluate textbooks assigned at all levels of education to portray an accurate overview of the skill, talent, issues and struggles that were faced by all, not just a certain demographic and not just a certain portion of what is called creative nonfiction in academic circles. ElliotScribbles

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brierly

    I read this for a nonfiction seminar at Portland State. Some of the best: Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, and Michael Herr. Plenty of other wonderful writers represented. These selections all have elements of fiction that you already enjoy, but used here to convey truth. An apt blending of factual and fantastical. A must-read for students of nonfiction.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dick Reynolds

    This book was a Christmas present from my daughter-in-law and I can’t remember a gift I’ve enjoyed so much. There are fifty-eight pieces in the book and they span a great variety and time frame of literary journalism beginning with entries by Defoe, Boswell and Dickens, and winding up with Tom Wolfe and Joan Didion. Many of these pieces are extracts of a larger work and are so entertaining and well-written that you immediately want to read the entire work. It’s like being confronted with a grou This book was a Christmas present from my daughter-in-law and I can’t remember a gift I’ve enjoyed so much. There are fifty-eight pieces in the book and they span a great variety and time frame of literary journalism beginning with entries by Defoe, Boswell and Dickens, and winding up with Tom Wolfe and Joan Didion. Many of these pieces are extracts of a larger work and are so entertaining and well-written that you immediately want to read the entire work. It’s like being confronted with a group of fifty-eight jars, each filled with a confection such as jelly beans, cashews, gum drops, chocolates, etc. The editors and compilers, Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda, provide an introduction to each piece, a minimal review with hints on what to look for and appreciate, helping you become a more critical reader. I found a huge number of pieces both entertaining, educational and sometimes disturbing. “The Fight to Live” by Al Stump covering the last days of baseball legend Ty Cobb falls into the last category. Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” was definitely in the first category with language and descriptive prose defying description. In the educational category, David Simon’s extract from “Homicide” tells you exactly what not to do when hauled into an interrogation room by inquisitive and demanding detectives. There’s something here for everyone, both reader and writer alike. An excellent compendium of real life activities described so well.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Incredible collection of literary journalism so well-written and tight that the pieces at times left me breathless. Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda do a wonderful job of explaining historical context and stylistic significance before each piece. This is a friend's textbook from her journalism master's program at Columbia, but it's so good that I would honestly buy a copy for my own reading pleasure. Don't miss. Incredible collection of literary journalism so well-written and tight that the pieces at times left me breathless. Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda do a wonderful job of explaining historical context and stylistic significance before each piece. This is a friend's textbook from her journalism master's program at Columbia, but it's so good that I would honestly buy a copy for my own reading pleasure. Don't miss.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine Dilmanian

    An amazing compendium of the best writing in modern history. One of my favorites.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steffani

    I've always loved the type of journalism that puts the reader in the middle of a vivid scene--true stories written with a novelist's attention to detail. Kerrane has collected a beautifully diverse series of just this type of writing. This anthology of literary journalism includes essays, articles, and feature stories from the time of pioneers like Dickens and Orwell to more contemporary journalists like John Steinbeck and David Simon. It's the kind of writing that makes you think--outside of yo I've always loved the type of journalism that puts the reader in the middle of a vivid scene--true stories written with a novelist's attention to detail. Kerrane has collected a beautifully diverse series of just this type of writing. This anthology of literary journalism includes essays, articles, and feature stories from the time of pioneers like Dickens and Orwell to more contemporary journalists like John Steinbeck and David Simon. It's the kind of writing that makes you think--outside of your little comfort bubble as a human and as reader/writer. This is going on my shelf of best-loved books for sure.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clarence Cromwell

    The best selection of literary journalism I've seen. This volume includes the usual suspects (Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson--yawn) as well as my favorites: Joan Didion and John Steinbeck. Also found a new interest in Jimmy Breslin who has heretofore remained beneath the radar. A very useful book for comparing styles and techniques; or for absorbing ideas about different ways to approach a story. The best selection of literary journalism I've seen. This volume includes the usual suspects (Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson--yawn) as well as my favorites: Joan Didion and John Steinbeck. Also found a new interest in Jimmy Breslin who has heretofore remained beneath the radar. A very useful book for comparing styles and techniques; or for absorbing ideas about different ways to approach a story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    This was an incredible cross-sampling of journalism through the ages, starting with a Q&A article written in the 17th century and ending with a tear-jerker column from the 1990s. Inbetween are dozens of amazing stories that stealthily show you the evolution of journalism to story teller. This is a must read for journalism fans or anyone who defines themselves as a story teller.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Not going to lie, I had both these guys as professors, so my review might be biased. If you want to know about the history of journalism and sprinkle some of the greatest fiction writing in between, this is the anthology for you. It's great. Not going to lie, I had both these guys as professors, so my review might be biased. If you want to know about the history of journalism and sprinkle some of the greatest fiction writing in between, this is the anthology for you. It's great.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rania QI

    Every piece in this anthology stimulated my passion for literary journalism. Some of the pantheons of this field are included in this book: Gay Talese, George Orwell, Morris Markey, Tom Wolfe, just to name a few. It makes a perfect addition to any creative nonfiction collection.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dietrich

    I took a literary journalism class with a classically absent-minded professor, did very little of the assigned work, and ended up with a C+. I was ready to write off the whole experience as a waste of time, but then I took a closer look at the assigned text, which was great.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I only read a selection from this book, but it included interesting and well-written non-fiction stories. One of my favorites was entitles, "The Bronx Slave Market." I only read a selection from this book, but it included interesting and well-written non-fiction stories. One of my favorites was entitles, "The Bronx Slave Market."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    My favorite collection of essays!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Antholoy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jean Dupenloup

    I read this anthology in college in the fall of 2008 for a class on literary journalism. It’s a wonderful collection of artfully tendered true accounts The book demonstrates that fact is indeed stranger than fiction!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Evonne

    Thoroughly enjoyed this anthology of nonfiction short texts. It was creative, and refreshing, and informative, and instructive. Recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Art In Your World

    For reviews and recommendations, check your shelf at https://artinyourworld.com https://www.instagram.com/art_in_your... https://www.facebook.com/caitlinrambl... For reviews and recommendations, check your shelf at https://artinyourworld.com https://www.instagram.com/art_in_your... https://www.facebook.com/caitlinrambl...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Mangan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ivan Ang

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hank Huang

  22. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  23. 4 out of 5

    Judy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  26. 5 out of 5

    ML

  27. 5 out of 5

    Grace Author

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josephine

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  30. 4 out of 5

    Denise Beltran

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