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Kingdom and the Power

4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0844662848
ISBN-10: 0844662844
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"A landmark in the field of writing about journalism." The Nation
The classic inside story of The New York Times, the most prestigious, and perhaps the most powerful, of all American newspapers. Bestselling author Talese lays bare the secret internal intrigues behind the tradition of front page exposes in a story as gripping as a work of fiction and as immediate as today's headlines. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gay Talese worked in The Times newsroom as a staff writer for ten years. In gathering information for The Kingdom and the Power, he interviwed hundreds of Times men, both past and present, as well as talking to the owners and executives, wth access to many personal records and documents. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Peter Smith Pub Inc (November 1911)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0844662844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0844662848
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,546,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reading "The Kingdom And The Power" is an immersive, and at times deeply enjoyable experience. Retaining any of the information contained within this sprawling and often rambling account is something else, however.

At the heart of Gay Talese's 1969 deep-dish exploration of the culture and people at The New York Times is a kind of debate, between the forces of the old thinking based on the paper's founding father Adolph Ochs, of "All The News That's Fit To Print" fame, and some young Turks (well, guys in their 40s) who place more value on being interesting than thorough. It's a fight you not only read about in the book, but can feel in the way it is written.

The concept of New Journalism, as pioneered by Talese and other 1960s scribes like Tom Wolfe and Jimmy Breslin, kind of flew in the face of what a newspaper like the Times was about. Instead of giving you the "who-what-why" and a bit of shading and coloring, New Journalism took a more subjective approach. You see it here at the beginning, in the way Talese has you sit in on a regular layout meeting in the office of Times' executive editor Clifton Daniel on an early summer day in 1966. As the meeting goes on, we find ourselves privy to the thoughts of various players at the table. How so? Some undoubtedly shared their thoughts with Talese after, but a good deal of guesswork must have been involved for such a moment-by-moment breakdown of a few fleeting minutes in these people's busy lives.

This happens a lot in "Kingdom And The Power," whether its globetrotting writer Harrison Salisbury's cool disdain for the feelings of others or a climactic battle for newsroom power between top Timesmen A. M. Rosenthal and James "Scotty" Reston. We get lots of insights, which is good New Journalism.
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Format: Paperback
Talese's masterpiece has stood the test of time since its publication in 1969. Far from boring, the content is fresh and the style is flawless. The excitement of working at the NEW YORK TIMES comes through nearly every page. What also comes through is the standard of excellence, something that the TIMES has struggled with in recent decades.
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Format: Paperback
Flipping through The Kingdom and the Power is like walking around a park. You can do it with your eyes opened or closed, but you would still arrive at the same place: nowhere new. It's more enjoyable with your eyes open, sure: you can see the pretty flowers along the path, and yes, sometimes there's a stunning view that just makes you feel it's all worth it. But after a long stroll, you realize that you haven't really gone anywhere. There simply is no plot.

The Kingdom and the Power is a story of the New York Times over the ages, of the people that influenced the paper that influenced the world. Not even a story, really: more of an interwoven series of anecdotes. They're fascinating, detailed, well-researched: but presented in a random manner that detracts from the big picture.

The Kingdom and the Power is a work of misled genius. Although author Gay Talese wields tremendous power with his words, he is unable to instigate a consistent fascination with his writing. When he finally chooses to bring attention to his undeniable skill with words, it's always a short teaser that ends as quickly as it begins, and is never seen again. When Talese implements wordplay, it's original, exciting, and plants colorful comparisons. Regretfully, this rarely happens.

His masterful ability at research, too, is undeniable: as a former writer for the New York Times, his knowledge seems to know no borders. The problem in this case, however, is not that it's underplayed, but that it's so much at the forefront of Talese's mind that he loses consideration for the reader, who by the fifth chapter is already four chapters into his nap.
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Format: Paperback
Once upon a time, in the land of New York, there was a powerful and prestigious newspaper called the Times. It printed "all the news that's fit to print." Everyone thought it was the greatest and most perfect newspaper in the history of the world.

It wasn't.

Gay Talese's book, The Kingdom and the Power, provides an inside look at one of the world's most prestigious newspapers. The level of detail in this book is impeccable, garnered from a slew of interviews, documents, and letters. The Kingdom and the Power tells the tales of Timesmen that ran the institution, those that worked at it, and those that will always be remembered by it. It tells of the many managing editors, of the woes of copyboys, of the mishaps of reporters, of the printers' strike, and of the ruling family of publishers, descended from the very first- Adolph Ochs.

The book is little more than a string of connected anecdotes- amusing to read, of course, but there is no powerful story until the last few chapters of the book. Still, it is just story, not central plot. It hasn't the traditional beginning, middle, or end. The paragraphs, sometimes over a page, are tedious because the sentences that comprise them are long themselves. This book's course is best likened to a rambling path- it is long and scenic, and certainly worth the time, but it goes off on tangents. It is a lengthy but well-written discourse that does not take you from point A to point B, but all over the place; when you are finished, you have learned a lot of things, but you still don't know what the point is. It is a wonderful read, so go ahead and enjoy the scenery, but don't get lost. Work your way steadily down the path, and you will be rewarded.

This book, published in 1969, should be archaic.
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