The Best-Kept Secret in American Journalism Is Murray Kempton

By David Owen Esquire March 1982 At the Democratic National Convention in 1980, a small brigade of young reporters dogged the footsteps of a man in a dark green suit. The man picked his way through the crush on the floor of the convention hall, pausing now and then to...

The Connoisseur of Scoundrels

By Ron Rosenbaum Manhattan Inc. May, 1987 The scene: an informal dinner party on the rooftop of a brownstone in the East Seventies. The people (with one exception): congenial, civilized, charming. The conversation: charming, civilized, congenial. Until … until someone...

Gracious Man With Dealer’s Hands

By Murray Kempton The New York Post October 9, 1956 There was the customary talk about the shadows of the years and the ravages of the law of averages when Sal Maglie went out to meet the Yankees yesterday afternoon. It was the first time, after all the years, that he...

The Champ and the Chump

By Murray Kempton The New Republic March 7, 1964 Just before the bell for the seventh round, Cassius Clay got up to go about his job. Suddenly, he thrust his arms straight up in the air in the signal with which boxers are accustomed to treat victory and you laughed at...

The Homecoming of Willie Mays

By Murray Kempton Esquire October 1973 He was twenty when he began these voyagings, and he is supposed to have said then that this first trip around the league was like riding through a beautiful park and getting paid for it. Out of all those playgrounds, only Wrigley...

The Making of An American Swami

By Sara Davidson My Generation September 2001 It’s eight a.m. on New Year’s morning and I’m sitting in the darkened hall of the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center in Los Angeles, staring at the cluster of swamis in red sitting cross-legged on the floor. There’s a slender...

The Attentive Eye

By Peter Goldman Introduction to The Attentive Eve May 2002 New York City For our forty-two years together, I have been assuring Helen Dudar that she ought to do a book. For forty-two years, she has assured me that she should not. My argument, reduced to its essence,...

Wolfe and Breslin and the Birth of New York Magazine

By Richard Kluger From The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune 1986 Of all James Bellows’s efforts to strengthen the Tribune, none was more striking than his willingness to take chances on new young writers, whom he encouraged to work in whatever...

My Dinner with Ali

By Davis Miller The Louisville Courier-Journal 1989 I’d been waiting for years. When it finally happened, it wasn’t what I’d expected. But he’s been fooling many of us for most of our lives. For six months, several of his friends had been trying to connect me with him...

The Stacks Chat: Arnold Hano

By Hank Waddles Bronx Banter September 25, 2009 You probably don’t know Arnold Hano. How could you? You live in a world of bullet points and exclamation points, a place where sportswriters aspire either to the pomposity of ESPN’s “Sports Reporters” or to the cacophony...

Authors

Search for: Top of the Stack Editor’s Notes Authors Categories A living archive of the best print journalism, curated by Alex Belth. Authors Explore our list of original publication authors, sorted by last name. A Shana Alexander Jennifer Allen Dave Anderson Tom...

The Man Behind the Curtain

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader His reputation as the guru of magazine writing preceded him so it came as a surprise that Jay Lovinger not only lived a couple of blocks from me in Riverdale but that he was indistinguishable from the other guys lolling around Johnson...