“Research has always seemed a bit like homework to me. Whatever the topic, I feel like a naughty schoolboy who’s cramming for an exam. What a relief to realize I am not alone. Through a variety of methods and circumstances, the writers in this fascinating collection demonstrate that research, like exploration, is challenging, maddening, frustrating, and exhausting. But like any great explorer (or naughty schoolboy), we know we cannot reach our goal without it, and the journey is often more rewarding than the destination.”
Alan Cumming, actor and author
“In our age of the Twitter and the Internet, it’s such a joy to see the art of the essay so alive and strong. Read this book and rediscover that real knowledge and connections still reside at the source: out in the field and inside the human condition.”
Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author of The Blue Zones
“No book has better portrayed the intimate, sometimes exasperating relationship between writer and research. It’s all here, and it’s never dullthe thrill of the chase, the unexpected discoveries, the crushing setbacks, the exhilarating ‘Aha!’ moments. There’s even a stray bookwormyes, a real onethat literally wriggles off the page.”
Patricia T. O’Conner, author of Woe Is I and, with Stewart Kellerman, Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language
“If you have ever sensed a marvelous story or a startling emotion hidden within a historic document, photo, artifact, or place, you'll find many kindred spirits in this inspiring book. It made me want to drop everything to set out on a grand intellectual adventure in the nearest archive.”
Jack El-Hai, author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist and Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines.