- Series: Best American Magazine Writing
- Paperback: 568 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (November 19, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231147147
- ISBN-13: 978-0231147149
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,763,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 Revised Edition
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If this anthology were a magazine, everybody would want to subscribe. (Publishers Weekly)
Another exemplary collection of the finest magazine writing in the United States.... A brilliant compilation. (Kirkus)
Diverse, brainy, and provocative. (The Sacramento Bee The Sacramento Bee)
As always, this collection offers readers the opportunity to catch up on the best magazine writing they may have missed. (Booklist)
Balanced, comprehensive, thought-provoking, involving, and well-crafted. (Library Journal)
This volume stands with the best... the compulsive readability of a good novel, but the immediacy and moral power of good journalism. (Irish Times)
Consistent excellence distinguishes this annual series... Significance and relevance delivered by way of superlative prose and keen journalistic investigation. (Kirkus Reviews)
A rich showcase. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
One exceptional read after another... this collection redeems the honor of print and its conscientious attention to accountability, depth and excellence. (Carl Sessions Stepp American Jorunalism Review)
Absolutely crammed with jaw-dropping features that will make you laugh, piss you off and push you to tears. A fantastic compilation. (The Sun-Herald)
About the Author
The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) is a nonprofit professional organization for editors of print and online magazines edited, published, and distributed in the United States. Established in 1963, ASME currently has around 900 members nationwide and, in association with the Columbia School of Journalism, sponsors the National Magazine Awards.
Jacob Weisberg is editor in chief of the Slate Group. He has written for the New Republic, Newsweek, New York magazine, and Vanity Fair, and is the author of several books, including, most recently, The Bush Tragedy.
Top customer reviews
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The four pieces dealing with Iraq alone would make the book worthwhile. But they are joined by five equally fine pieces:
# Mike Kessler on the failure of the federal government to honor its promise to compensate cancer-stricken workers who assembled nuclear bombs at the Rocky Flats plant near Denver.
# Jeanne Marie Laskas writing about the lives of coalminers in south-eastern Ohio.
# Paige Williams's account of a teenage refugee from Burundi who has to rebuild her life from nothing in Atlanta.
# Peter Hessler writing about China's economic transformation ("China's Instant Cities").
# William Langewiesche reporting on how a gang of criminals reduced Sao Paolo to a state of chaos for a 7-day period in May 2006, in a coordinated attack so fierce it took the police a week to mount a credible response.
All nine of these pieces benefit not only from excellent writing; it is obvious that each was based on exhaustive, on-the-ground, research and reporting. The book has more to offer: interspersed with the longer pieces of "serious" reporting there are some very funny essays:
"I am Joe's Prostate" (Thomas E. Kennedy)
"The Autumn of the Multitaskers" (Walter Kirn)
"So Many Men's Rooms, So Little Time" (Christopher Hitchens)
as well as short pieces on the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns, the financial meltdown, and Ken Burn's WWII documentary, by Matt Taibbi, Hendrik Hertzberg, Kurt Andersen and Tom Carson, respectively.
There were only three of the twenty pieces in the collection that I found weak -- Vanessa Grigoriadis on the media-gossip blog Gawker.com, Caitlin Flanagan's somewhat aimless remarks about the risk posed by online predators, and Matthew Scully's risible mudslinging at his former speechwriting colleague in the Bush White House about who deserved credit for exactly which forgettable speech inflicted on the nation by President Bush over the last eight years. Scully's delusion that this is something worth bickering over, or something that more than a dozen people might care about, is so surreal it's almost endearing. If he weren't so ridiculously petty.
The final piece in the book is Evan Wright's long (70-page) profile, "Pat Dollard's War on Hollywood", which I haven't yet had the chance to read. Nonetheless, the overall quality of the other pieces is so high that I don't hesitate to give this book a four-star rating.