From Publishers Weekly
In a delightful foreword, Tom Wolfe hits the ground running with a chronicle of New York Magazine's humble beginnings, as a supplement to The New York Herald Tribune, and its growth, at the hands of fearless editor Clay Felker, to rival the untouchable New Yorker. For the mag's 40th anniversary, the editors have collected some of its most memorable essays, including Mark Jacobsen's 1975 "Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet" (which loosely inspired the television show Taxi, Nik Cohn's Tribal Rights of the New Saturday Night and, in turn, the film Saturday Night Fever), two Gloria Steinem essays (including her brilliant 1969 manifesto, "After Black Power, Women's Lib"), and other articles from the likes of Jay McInerney, George Plimpton, Nora Ephron, Joe Klein, and current New York regulars Kurt Anderson and Emily Nussbaum. More recent favorites include Steve Fishman's "The Dead Wives Club, or Char in Love," about a group profile of Staten Island firemen's wives widowed on 9/11, and Mark Jacobson's "The $2,000-an-Hour Woman," a 2005 piece on "America's No. 1 escort" (whose colleague would later bring down Gov. Eliot Spitzer). Highlights abound, including Wolfe's classic 1976 "The 'Me' Decade," which details the yuppy phenomenon's "great religious wave" of narcissistic self-discovery for "dreary little bastards" with money. A pleasure to read, this book will satisfy anyone wishing to reminisce about New York City and the birth of New Journalism.
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From its birth as a Sunday newspaper supplement, New York magazine has incubated many of the nation’s best writers, its influence on journalism and literature far exceeding its size and circulation. Virtually inventing the “new journalism” of the late twentieth century, New York has consistently courted both innovation and controversy and appeals to an audience well beyond its metropolitan base. This anthology brings together representative examples of the magazine’s prose. Cultural issues include Gael Greene on pretentious restaurants, Julie Baumgold on Truman Capote’s last days, and Vanessa Grigoriadis on bloggers. The magazine’s political pundits couldn’t be more stellar: Gloria Steinem, Garry Wills, David Halberstam, and Richard Reeves, profiling national leaders from Nixon through Obama. Tom Wolfe contributes a foreword that succinctly captures founding editor Clay Felker’s charisma and talent as well as his magazine’s perennial sniping feud with the New Yorker’s William Shawn. --Mark Knoblauch