- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (March 8, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140003356X
- ISBN-13: 978-1400033560
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New New Journalism: Conversations with America's Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft
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From Publishers Weekly
Boynton uses the clunky moniker "new new journalism" to describe a group of reporters today who write article- and book-length examinations of their subjects, often pioneering new reporting techniques (such as Adrian Nicole Leblanc's trick of leaving her tape recorder with her subjects when she went home as a way of getting them to open up without her around--a method that worked to wonderful effect in her Random Family). Yet, Boynton points out, these writers also stay true to strict journalistic standards, unlike Tom Wolfe and the New Journalists, whose creative narrative methods broke all the rules. Many of the reporters Boynton highlights are also motivated by an activist impulse that informs but never overpowers their work. Boynton, the director of New York University's magazine journalism program, offers a nuts-and-bolts approach to understanding the way these reporters write, interviewing them on the smallest of details, such as how they organize their notes, what color pens they use and how they set ground rules with sources who aren't media savvy. Featuring lengthy discussions with star scribes such as William Langewiesche (American Ground) and Michael Lewis (Moneyball), this batch of discussions is a gold mine of technique, approach and philosophy for journalists, writers and close readers alike. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Building on the tradition of literary journalism--from nineteenth-century writers Lincoln Steffens and Stephen Crane through Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer--the latest practitioners continue to apply keen skills of social observation and to enjoy public acclaim that promises continued support for this predominantly American craft. Boynton offers interviews with 19 writers who detail how and why they produce their work: Alex Kotlowitz tends to stumble onto his subjects, Jon Krakauer hates interviewing people in restaurants, Leon Dash refuses to become emotionally involved with his subjects, Jane Kramer appreciates the stylistic prose of literary nonfiction writers, Richard Preston is mechanically inept and prefers to take notes rather than use a tape recorder, and Ron Rosenbaum prefers the typewriter to the computer. Interviewees also include Gay Talese, William Finnegan, Susan Orlean, and Lawrence Weschler. Boynton asks the writers how they get their ideas, conduct their research and interviews, and begin the writing process as well as their takes on the future prospects for literary journalism. A fascinating book that makes the reader want to go out and get every book the writers have written as well as those mentioned as sources of inspiration. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
None was more satisfying, though, than the Q+A with Richard Ben Cramer, an author who is notable for spending an astounding six years working on 'What It Takes: The Way To The White House'. This is a thousand-page book about the presidential candidates for the 1988 election that was published in 1992, after he had conducted more than one thousand interviews: for instance, he spent a year reporting on the candidates' lives before the campaign, interviewing their friends and family, before he ever stepped onto a campaign bus.
The entire Cramer Q+A is worth the price of admission alone, because his sense of humour really shines through. And I loved this quote of his in its entirety: "A book ought to alter the reader's life, add to the reader's life, in some fundamental way. You have a compact with the reader that if he gives you the time then something will be better for him. His understanding will increase, an emotional satisfaction will ensure, a cathartic experience will take place. A book has to make something happen. A newspaper story informs, a magazine article entertains, and a book has to move you."
There are many other great interviews, including with writers such as Jon Krakauer, Lawrence Wright, Susan Orlean, Gay Talese and Michael Lewis. Ted Conover is here, too, and I think by coupling this book with Conover's 2016 title 'Immersion: A Writer's Guide To Going Deep', any writer will be well-equipped with the wisdom and inspiration required to do the sort of in-depth, long-form writing that I find so appealing. When done well, I think it is among the most pleasurable forms of storytelling known to human expression, and this book showcases the creative process of some of its best practitioners.
The book is organized as a series of interview transcripts, asking each reporter how they do what they do. From "What is your daily routine?" to "How do you come up with ideas?" and "How do you decide who to interview?", the questions are very nicely worded to offer the reader the right information.
What emerges through the unique voices of each writer is a picture of creative non-fiction, a genre combining old-school reporting methods and forward-looking creative thinking and ways of presenting information.
This book is hard to read in one sitting, since the questions in each interview are pretty much the same and can get repetitive. However, it is a great book to pick up from time to time and read bits of and I certainly have loved working through it.
I give it 3 stars because it's not a work of art or anything . . . I mean, the same questions, more or less, are repeated in each interview, and the intro to each chapter distills information and quotes that follow in the chapter, so I don't see this book as being a grand literary achievement per se. But it's useful, and I came away from it with an increased appreciation of how hard these journalists work--sometimes staying with the same story for months or years, and putting hundreds or thousands of hours into one long article. (Of course, when they expand the article into a book, the time they invested continues to produce returns.) Anyway, if you are a journalist or are someone interested in the way high-level literary journalism is currently being carried out, you'll find what you're looking for in this paperback original.