The Best American Magazine Writing 2007

Overview

This year's selection includes William Langewiesche's probing investigation in Vanity Fair of the slaughter of twenty-four Iraqis in Haditha; C. J. Chivers's chilling account in Esquire of the 2004 hostage crisis in Beslan, which killed 331 people, 186 of them children; Susan Casey's revelation in Best Life of a virtually unknown, Texas-sized garbage dump resting at the bottom of the Pacific ocean; and Andrew Corsello's harrowing portrait in GQ of Robert Mugabe's mad rule and two men-a white farmer and a fiery ...

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Overview

This year's selection includes William Langewiesche's probing investigation in Vanity Fair of the slaughter of twenty-four Iraqis in Haditha; C. J. Chivers's chilling account in Esquire of the 2004 hostage crisis in Beslan, which killed 331 people, 186 of them children; Susan Casey's revelation in Best Life of a virtually unknown, Texas-sized garbage dump resting at the bottom of the Pacific ocean; and Andrew Corsello's harrowing portrait in GQ of Robert Mugabe's mad rule and two men-a white farmer and a fiery black priest-who strive for forgiveness instead of hate.

The collection also includes Vanessa Grigoriadis's hilarious portrait of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld in New York Magazine; Christopher Hitchens's profile of survivors of Agent Orange in Vanity Fair; Sandra Tsing Loh's coverage of the stay-at-home-mommy debate in the Atlantic Monthly; Paul Theroux's thoughts on the dangers of anthropomorphism and our misconceptions about birds in the Smithsonian; Janet Reitman's unraveling of the mysteries of Scientology in Rolling Stone; and the work of nine other exceptional writers.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

As always, this collection offers readers the opportunity to catch up on the best magazine writing they may have missed.

The Sacramento Bee

Diverse, brainy, and provocative.

Irish Times
This volume stands with the best... the compulsive readability of a good novel, but the immediacy and moral power of good journalism.

— Colin Murphy

Irish Times - Colin Murphy

This volume stands with the best... the compulsive readability of a good novel, but the immediacy and moral power of good journalism.

Publishers Weekly

All of the essays in the series' eighth year exhibit a timeless prose in the midst of meeting deadlines. But many also resonate with a special sense of timeliness, such as the insightful "Rules of Engagement" by William Langewiesche, a detailed study for Vanity Fairof the U.S. massacre of Iraqi citizens in the town of Haditha. Other essays have a similar sense of urgency: "Inside Scientology" by Janet Reitman for Rolling Stone-the result of a nine-month investigation-is a terrific and balanced look at an organization whose top leaders assert that false ideas, "including the concepts of God, Christ, and organized religion," date back 75 million years to the work of "an evil galactic warrior named Xenu." C.J. Chivers's "The School" for Esquireis a harrowing account of the three-day siege by Chechen terrorists of a grammar school in the Russian town of Beslan. Other, lighter pieces include Vanessa Grigoriadis's skillful depiction for New Yorkof the crazy-like-a-fox business and personal lifestyle of "Karl Lagerfeld, Boy Prince of Fashion." (Dec. 26)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

The editors' selections for this eighth annual anthology draw not just from the likes of The New Yorkerand Vanity Fairbut also from magazines with comparatively smaller readerships, such as McSweeney'sand Best Life. Similarly, while some of the authors whose work is featured may be well known (e.g., Ian Parker, Christopher Hitchens), others (e.g., Susan Casey, Rajesh Parameswaran) are not. The entries fall into eight categories: public interest, profiles, reporting, features, columns and commentary, essays, reviews and criticism, and fiction. Many of the topics are relatively timely-e.g., the Chechen siege of a Beslan school in 2004 and U.S. Marine actions in Haditha, Iraq. Two pieces centering on or inspired by events as recent as 2006-the suicide of a gifted 14-year-old girl and the re-creation of a Brooklyn man's life from his letters and papers-are timeless. On the whole, these are balanced, comprehensive, thought-provoking, involving, and well-crafted examples of specific categories of writing that readers are unlikely otherwise to encounter in one place. Highly recommended for all libraries, particularly academic libraries with programs in journalism and/or creative writing.
—Gina Kaiser

Kirkus Reviews
Another year, another exemplary collection of the finest magazine writing in the United States. This year's selections include the winners of the National Magazine Awards as well as the competition finalists, who are on par with each other in terms of dexterity and literary impact. Vanessa Grigoriadis ignites the volume with a dazzling-and quite tongue-in-cheek-profile of a fashion icon, "Karl Lagerfeld, Boy Prince of Fashion" (New York Magazine). In "He Knew He Was Right" (the New Yorker), Ian Parker offers a focused look at iconoclastic literary and political critic Christopher Hitchens. Caroline Alexander gives a respectful nod to unrivaled Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner in "Murdering the Impossible" (National Geographic), and Alex Ross pens a stylish appreciation of Wolfgang Mozart in "The Storm of Style" (New Yorker). In what may be the best piece of the bunch, "The Other Side of Hate" (GQ), Andrew Corsello vividly chronicles the unlikely alliance in economically taxed Zimbabwe of Paul Neshangwe, a black preacher, and Jim Steele, a white agronomist. Severity of subject matter is evident in William Langewiesche's harrowing "Rules of Engagement" (Vanity Fair), about an Iraqi civilian massacre (by U.S. Marine soldiers) in the country's western city of Haditha. Likewise in C.J. Chivers's "The School" (Esquire), a breathlessly detailed piece about the 2004 Beslan tragedy. Human-interest writing shines in Susan Casey's ominous and unsettling report, "Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic . . . Are We?" (Best Life), which documents the discovery and investigation of an enormous floating landfill of plastic waste-the size of Texas-some 800 miles north of Hawaii; and in Janet Reitman'seye-opening "Inside Scientology" (Rolling Stone). A brilliant compilation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231143912
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/8/2007
  • Series: Best American Magazine Writing Series
  • Pages: 520
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

The American Society of Magazine Editors is a nonprofit professional organization for editors of print magazines that are edited, published, and sold in the United States, as well as editors of online magazines. It sponsors the National Magazine Awards in association with the Columbia School of Journalism.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments, by Cynthia Leive, editor-in-chief, Glamour, president, American Society of Magazine EditorsIntroduction, by Marlene Kahan, executive director, American Society of Magazine Editors1. Karl Lagerfeld: Boy Prince of Fashion, by Vanessa Grigoriadis2. Rules of Engagement, by William Langewiesche3. Our Oceans Are Turning Into Plastic... Are We?, by Susan Casey4. The School, by C. J. Chivers5. He Knew He Was Right , by Ian Parker6. Murdering the Impossible, by Caroline Alexander7. The Other Side of Hate, by Andrew Corsello8. Blinded by Science: When First We Clicked, by Bruno Maddox9. Prairie Fire, by Eric Konigsberg10. Russell and Mary, by Michael Donohue11. Inside Scientology, by Janet Reitman12. The Loved Ones, by Tom Junod13. Living with Geese, by Paul Theroux14. Rhymes with Rich, by Sandra Tsing Loh15. The Vietnam Syndrome, by Christopher Hitchens16. The Tracks of My Tears, by Stuart Klawans17. The Storm of Style, by Alex Ross18. The Strange Career of Doctor Raju Gopalarajan, by Rajesh Parameswaran2007 National Magazine Award FinalistsNational Magazine Award Winners, 1966--2007ASME Board of Directors, 2006--2007ASME Mission StatementPermissionsList of Contributors

Columbia University Press

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