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Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg Reprint Edition

55 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0375725524
ISBN-10: 0375725520
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This collection displays Bragg's ability to capture time and place in a vivid prose that is consistently eloquent, sincere, and sympathetic. In his introduction, Bragg (All Over but the Shoutin') credits his storytelling family with teaching him how to listen and relate a tale. He acknowledges that "the best stories in the newspaper are those of people in trouble, and those are the ones I care about writing." This anthology of over 60 articles includes Bragg's work with the Birmingham News, the St. Petersburg Times, and the New York Times, where he is currently the Miami bureau chief. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist's works on the Oklahoma City bombings, the Susan Smith case, and schoolyard killers, among others, are collected here. Bragg's respect for ordinary people allows him to shape his stories with clarity and compassion. His book reminds the reader that lives go on and stories need to be written down so they won't be forgotten after the headlines fade. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.
-Pam Kingsbury, Florence, AL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The stories in Somebody Told Me are so unbelievably good, they will burn a hole in your bookshelf."
--St. Petersburg Times

"[E]loquent... memorable... [E]ngages us as readers and poignantly conveys the impact of small and large events on everyday life."
--The New York Times Book Review

"He's one of the vital voices in contemporary American writing."
--Willie Morris

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375725520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375725524
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Buck Leonard on May 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When you read Rick Bragg, you get the impression not of a reporter, methodically gathering information, quotes and background and then arranging it into a neat story for the copy editor. You get a voice telling you a story about real people, and you can feel the wind in the trees and hear the passing cars on the streets where the people were born.
These people exist, something that is not always possible to discern in a newspaper report. And if a reporter is best when there is a little of every man in him, then Rick Bragg speaks with a voice that is the same as the people in the stories he tells. Enjoy.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By omnireader on June 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Rick Bragg writes in the introduction to SOMEBODY TOLD ME that he was tickled to death that somebody wanted to put his newspaper stories into a collection. Well, he was not much more tickled than I was, since I've been trying to track down his stories since reading his wonderful memoir, ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING. The little snippets of his stories that were reprinted in the book simply whetted my appetite for more!
Whether Rick Bragg is reporting on the big stories like those of Susan Smith and the horrible dragging death in Jasper,Texas, or the little ones like the ice tea contest he is able to get to the human heart of every story and leave an indelible impression on the reader. I don't think I'll ever forget the story of Dirty Red--it broke my heart.
There aren't many books that I read and hold onto to read again. This will be one of the few, just for the joy of reading such finely crafted prose. If I could, I'd give it 6 Stars!
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on May 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
No matter where you're from picture this; a child sits on a grandmother's lap rocking on the front porch in the early evening. Take your time... You there yet? I still remember being held by my grandmothers, and loving it. Think N.C. Wyeth or perhaps Norman Rockwell if you like. Late spring is filling your senses with smells, sights and sounds. The Author Mr. Rick Bragg sees this scene and..........
"This is a place where grandmothers hold babies on their laps under the stars and whisper that the lights in the sky are holes in the floor of heaven".
If writing gets better than that sentence I look forward to finding it. Writing like that is why I read. Writing like that does not just give you pause; it brings you to a full stop. It brings back memories, it makes it hard to swallow because of the emotion that has grown in you and clings to your throat.
I have read that sentence, that very first sentence from the first story in "Somebody Told Me" dozens of times. I'm convinced it's perfect.
I cannot refer to this collection of short stories as newspaper articles. Newspapers are "the press". Mr. Bragg is not amongst that group except for the fact his stories often appear there.
Mr. Bragg takes you everywhere you want to go, and places you would give anything never to have seen. In a given sentence he makes more powerful and complete statements saturated with emotion than any tabloid could produce in 100 years. That same sentence will cause a reader to feel the full force of what he describes. No tricks, no course language that others use because they lack the inventory, the lexicon to generate such emotion. No exaggeration, no hyperbole, just what is true, just what he sees.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Pinzur on May 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It never stops amazing me. I had the good fortune to work with my close friend Rick Bragg in reporting some of the stories that appear on these pages, and I've read most of these stories a dozen times. Each time, though, they still have the fresh emotion of the people because no one can bring out those people's stories like Rick. Even after being there, the tales seem more real in his words. If you enjoyed his best-selling memoir, "All Over But the Shoutin'," then this collection of his best newspaper stories should keep you satisfied until he releases the follow-up to "All Over," which is already in progress.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Pierce on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
newspaper writing, I think, often gets a bad rap, if it manages to get any rap at all. We look to the newspaper daily for information and occasionally entertainment. It is on very rare occasions that one would look towards a newspaper for "literature". After having read "All Over But the Shoutin', I remember thinking "Damn - I wish I could read the stories." Thankfully, someone at the University of Alabama Press had the good sense to recognize that I was not alone in my yearning.
These stories indeed go beyond being simply informative and reach a level of literature that most periodicals are sorely lacking these days. Beautiful storytelling and amazing insight make it clear that Bragg comes from a long-line of great Southern storytellers.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bragg's storytelling in his journalism inspires hope that he may yet give us a novel. He's a superb observer of people--the fine, the ordinary, the dispossessed, the downright bizarre. I find his writing at times a bit melodramatic--as in many of the "leads" for the pieces in this collection--but he is never less than interesting, and often he's something approaching revelatory in his way of showing us who we all are. His stories here on the Susan Smith case in South Carolina a few years ago still stop me cold.
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