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The Best American Magazine Writing 2000

The Best American Magazine Writing 2000

by Clay Felker (Editor)

"In the world of magazines, no recognition is more highly coveted than an " "Ellie," " the National Magazine Award presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors to the best of the American magazine"


"In the world of magazines, no recognition is more highly coveted than an " "Ellie," " the National Magazine Award presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors to the best of the American magazine"

Editorial Reviews

What a good idea this is! This collection reprints winners of the National Magazine Award sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). Since this anthology emphasizes reporting and analysis, there is no overlap with the older series The Best American Essays, which emphasizes the personal essay. In another refreshing choice, the book contains only one celebrity interview, a genre that dominates so many of our magazines. Some of the essays are horrifying: Richard Preston's piece on smallpox, Vanity Fair reports on torture and genocide in Yugoslavia, and the longest essay in the book, Kenneth Cain's report on the civil war in Liberia. Others are touching, including Gary Smith's Sports Illustrated rumination on a photograph taken in the Texas Christian University locker room minutes before the 1957 Cotton Bowl. In all the reportorial pieces, precise detail and intelligent analysis are evident, none more so than in Bryan Hayes's fascinating piece from The Sciences on the elaborate astronomical clock of the Strasbourg Cathedral, an essay subtitled "When one millennium's bright ideas become inscrutable legacies for the next." The winners also include three excellent short stories, all from The New Yorker, including a funny and moving story of sexual frustration, "The Barber's Unhappiness" by George Saunders, and Jhumpa Lahiri's charming story of Bengali immigrants to London, "The Third and Final Continent." Another category represented here is movie and book reviews. Teenage readers might be especially interested in Tom Carson's critique of Saving Private Ryan, first published in Esquire. Young people, especially those who don't regularly read general interest magazines,will find some intriguing surprises here. The ASME hopes to make this collection of prizewinners an annual event. Long may the series flourish. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Perseus/Public Affairs, 400p, notes, 21cm, 00-057583, $14.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Michael P. Healy; English Teacher, Wood River H.S., Hailey, ID, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
Library Journal
The first of a planned annual publication, this collection of 15 award-winning magazine pieces that appeared during 1999 is drawn from a field of 1,483 entries in the National Magazine Awards. The judges retained by the American Society of Magazine Editors, based at Columbia University, narrowed the field to 82 finalists in a variety of categories. Long-time magazine editor Felker, now a journalism professor at the University of California, Berkeley, played a major role in choosing the winners included here. Though the book is a welcome beginning, a long-standing annual collection from the American Society of Newspaper Editors (e.g., 1999 Best Newspaper Writing, Bonus Bks., 1999) does it much better. How? By including interviews with the winning writers as well as commentary from first-rate teachers of writing. There are other quibbles with this magazine collection: too many of the pieces are from large, easy-to-obtain magazines (e.g., Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker); too many of the writers--13 of 15--are men; and the mixing of three fiction with 12 nonfiction pieces gives the collection a strange aura. Quibbles aside, these provocative works ought to appeal to a diverse readership. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Steve Weinberg, Univ. of Missouri Journalism Sch., Columbia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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