Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Best American Essays 2007 Paperback – October 10, 2007
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"universal insights [that] take us deep inside the writers' minds" (Miami Herald)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
"A Carnivore's Credo" by Roger Scruton: He writes a unique defense of meat-eating and rebukes vegetarianism.
"What Should a Billionaire Give--and What Should You?" by Peter Singer. He presents what many will find to be an extreme view of charity.
"Dragon Slayers"by Jarald Walker. The author, an African American, refutes a definition of embattled victimization as too limiting to African Americans.
"Apocalypse Now" by Edward O. Wilson. Wilson's attempt to bridge the gulf between science and religion in a "letter" to Baptists challenges the practices of both the scientific and religious community.
"An Orgy of Power" by George Gessert. The author shows the disturbing use of torture in US policy as being out of bounds historically.
"Loaded" by Garret Keizer. A "progressive" defense of gun ownership rooted in a Hobbesian worldview lays out the gun debate in a way I've never seen.
"What the Dog Saw" by Malcolm Gladwell. The author profiles "dog whisperer"and shows that many American dog owners unwittingly harm their dogs when they treat their pets like humans.
"Petrified" by John Lahr. He shows the curse of stage-fright and self-consciousness and why there is a moral imperative to overcome these afflictions.
"Onward, Christian Liberals" by Marilynne Robinson. The author rebukes "fundamentalism" by arguing that it is a betrayal of real Christianity.
In addition to a terrific introduction by DFW, there were four essays among the 22 in this collection that I found exceptional:
"Werner" by Jo Ann Beard
"Shakers" by Daniel Orozco
"Dragon Slayers" by Jerald Walker
"Fathead's Hard Times" by W.S. DiPiero
Several essays covered political topics: Mark Danner on Iraq, George Gessert on torture, Garret Keizer on gun control, Phillip Robertson on Iraq, Elaine Scarry on America's compliance with the Geneva Convention, Roger Scruton's "A Carnivore's Credo", Ian Buruma on multiculturalism, Edward O. Wilson on responsible environmental stewardship, Peter Singer's "What should a millionaire give - and what should you?" It might be just a testament to my shallowness, but the only two of these essays that didn't feel like homework were those by Elaine Scarry and Peter Singer.
Gladwell's profile of Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) is interesting, but only moderately so. Personal reminiscences are provided by John Lahr, Molly Peacock, Cynthia Ozick, and Marione Ingram.Read more ›
The essays in this book are daring. "Afternoon of the Sex Children" reprinted from N+1 was very good. I am suprised that anyone has the courage to put sex and children in the same sentence much less explore Nabakov's themes in the age of Britney Spears grinding in pigtails and "no sex education in schools". It's been refreshing to read essays that don't go over the same tired themes that magazines repeatedly explore. When this book did reprint essays that explored some unoriginal people or themes, they were the best essays on those subjects I'd read. For example, I didn't think I would want to read another essay on Cesar The Dog Whisperer because I 've read something about this guy everywhere and I was disappointed to see this book include another story about him. But "What The Dog Saw" was so well written I begged my husband to read it so that we could discuss it.
This is a good collection of essays. I took off one star because I felt there were too many short stories in a collection that should have been devoted to essays. Not that the short stories weren't good. The collection opens with a short "Malcolm" which was one of my favourite pieces in the book. A good argument is made by David Foster Wallace that these are narratives and therefore eligible for inclusion. But these contributions read and felt like short stories to me and I really wanted essays as there is another book in this series devoted to short stories.
I haven't read every essay in the book, but I have read more then half and no one picks up these books to read them cover-to-cover. Only a couple have disappointed. Most others were real page-turners. A few essays in particular caught my attention:
"A Carnivore's Credo" - Roger Scruton explains why vegetarians are right in being appalled by the modern food system, but wrong in their solution of skipping meat. Almost got me to start eating meat again.
"The Freedom to Offend" - Ian Buruma offers a short polemic on why we give up our free speech for sensitivity only with peril.
"Afternoon of the Sex Children" - Mark Greif leads us through a tour of today's seriously messed up relationship with sexual youth. On one hand, pedophilia is more stigmatized (rightly) than ever before, but on the other hand our celebrity culture, our literature, our advertising and our pornography celebrate sex with young people. What happened?
Sereval Iraq-related essays - If you've been paying attention, the specifics aren't news, but several essays do a great service of compiling and presenting coherently the chaos that has been the American intervention in Iraq.
Sophiscated, funny, insightful. Reading this book isn't that different than reading the New York Times Magazine, VQR, Atlantic Monthly, or many other magazines that are well-written and don't condescend. Except that this book is, after all, a selection of the "best," without the inevitable filler (and ads!) of a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly rag.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
so I have an AP English paper I have to do and so I have to get this book. instead of receiving 2007 I get 2008. which is a huge difference.
send help im screwed
Just such smart, clean, clear, interesting essays.
Really good read.
While I have not yet read the entire collection, the intro by Wallace is worth the cost of the book anyway. Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Karen Douglass
This anthology is beyond 14 billion light years away from being the best essays of any nation in any year. Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by Mammadon'tlie
These are all siper interesting essays. You can read them in any order and you can choose what to read or not.Published on February 25, 2011 by smithie149
This book, though it can give you a different view on certain opinions and topics, was very boring and hard to follow. Read morePublished on August 29, 2010 by Jen
To be honest the choice of this book was that of the instructor of one of my adult education classes and the essays it contains vary in form from short stories to exposition; they... Read morePublished on April 28, 2010 by Don Borden
If this is really the BEST collection of American Essays, then American literature is lost in the wilderness and in dire need of a map and compass. Read morePublished on May 22, 2009 by ARWoollock
Absolutely terrific! Only DFW could have picked such excellent essays. And, his introduction, on its own, is worth the price of this book. Read morePublished on May 19, 2009 by Michael W. Bartram