Hi-Diddely-Dee—The Writer’s Life for Me!

By Joe Flaherty The New York Times March 13, 1977 In an interview after winning the Nobel Prize, Saul Bellow contended that most people don’t pay any mind to writers, and his assessment struck me as correct. This fact was bulldozed home to me in 1969 when, as a...

The Stacks Chat: Robert Benton

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic August 2016 Robert Benton is best known as a screenwriter (Bonnie and Clyde, What’s Up Doc?,and Superman), and director (The Late Show, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Nobody’s Fool), but before he lost it at the movies, Benton was the art...

A Forgotten Pioneer of The New Journalism

By Alex Belth Esquire Classic October 2016 Fame is fleeting in all pop culture—movies, music, writing, sports: today’s stars, tomorrow’s Where Are They Now’s. This feels especially true in journalism. Who but a small group of nonfiction-loving nerds pays attention to...

Pillar of the Post

By Diane K. Shah The National Observer May 20, 1976 I came from this incredibly high-powered family. My mother was sort of a Viking. Very bright, and utterly contemptuous of everyone else. When I told her I had read The Three Musketeers, she said, “undoubtedly a waste...

A Fistful of Dollars

By Gail Sheehy Rolling Stone July 14, 1977 November 20th, 1976, a Saturday night, Clay Felker, the New York magazine publisher, invited Rupert Murdoch, the Australian publisher, to dine at Elaine’s to celebrate the announcement that had hit New York by surprise the...

Elmore Leonard Under the Boardwalk

By J. Anthony Lukas GQ December 1984 Anonymous in their green Ford Fairmont, the plainclothesmen pull to the casino door and beckon three men into the backseat. Nosing into midday traffic, they head for the Italian community along North Georgia Avenue. “That’s where...

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...

The Purple Decades

By James Wolcott The New York Review of Books November 4, 1982 The Purple Decades: A Reader   by Tom Wolfe Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 396 pp., $17.50 Not since Garry Wills uncorked his rather fanciful notions on the origins of the cold war in the opening pages of...

The Ice Cream Man with the Clean White Suit

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Tom Wolfe died a couple of days ago and if you have never read his entertaining and much-celebrated non-fiction, well, now is as good a time as any to dig in. Start with the relatively straight-forward “The Marvelous Mouth of Cassius...

Chuck Bowden and the Red Cadillac

By Luis Alberto Urrea From Red Caddy 2018 The License Plate Said “Hayduke”: Chuck Bowden and the Red Cadillac “I try to construct a theory of how a moral person should live in these circumstances, and how such a person should love.”   Charles Bowden, Desierto...

The Stacks Chat: Steve Oney

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader I love anthologies of magazine journalism but you don’t see them published much these days and that’s a damn shame. Safe to say everyone around these parts is grateful to the university presses for keeping the fine tradition alive. We...

My Ears Are Bent

By John Schulian MSNBC 2001 Not a holiday season arrives that I don’t think of a gray, clammy day long ago on Baltimore’s waterfront and a lost soul who told me about the woman who had given him his only gift in years: a Christmas card. It was just the sort of story I...