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Burning Down My Masters' House: My Life At The New York Times

2.49  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Blair recounts in detail the events that led to his downfall as a journalist for "The New York Times," as well as his personal journey to make sense of the different pieces of the puzzle.
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published August 27th 2004 by New Millennium (GB) (first published March 4th 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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May 12, 2008 Emanuella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is about the downfall of Jayson Blair, the New York Times writer who resigned after writing dozens of front page stories that weren't true.

I'm reading this for a journalism ethics class. It's good because it's making me think about my future career. There have been moments where I wished I could make up some facts just to get a story finished, but that's a dangerous line to cross. I think it's important to keep a line between fiction and non-fiction, even though good storytelling somet
Feb 15, 2008 Flora rated it did not like it
What a disappointment! I thought this would be great, seedy, reactionary, hysterical, psychopathic, personality-disordered trash on the level of "Mommie Dearest" or "Monica's Story," but it was just a long boring slog through the rationalizations of a none-too-competent crook. A huge let-down for the schadenfreude crowd.
Feb 24, 2010 Belinda rated it it was ok
To be fair, I would probably give this 2 1/2 stars. This had the potential to be a fascinating story. Unfortunately, the combination of an odd writing style and a lack of aggressive editing make it a difficult read and obscures his message.
May 14, 2012 s rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: journalism students
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2010 Katherine rated it did not like it
The guy's a liar. How can I believe this book?
Deborah Palmer
Oct 06, 2012 Deborah Palmer rated it it was ok
Just finished "Burning Down My Masters House" by Jayson Blair. So glad that was over with. I found it very difficult to connect with this book or Mr. Blair. The ravings of a lunatic coupled with manic depression. However it did clearly express a man having an ongoing psychotic break with reality with brief periods of calm. Though I understood the dynamics of working for a racist institution like the New York Times I still feel Mr. Blair brought a lot of woe upon himself by deciding to follow the ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Sep 20, 2013 Kelly H. (Maybedog) marked it as never
While I'm not sure if there's an apology in this book somewhere and given the gross extent of his deception, I cannot trust that there is anything in this book that is true either.
Jan 10, 2010 RYCJ rated it really liked it
...too many fillers. Still (in light of this real happening) it's on my keeper shelf.
Saleem Khan
Jul 22, 2013 Saleem Khan rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Journalism students
** SPOILER ALERT ** The New York Times' 13,000-word story on Blair is avaialable at

My review, published in Metro, June 2004.

Burning Down My Masters' House
Jayson Blair
New Millennium Press Hardcover $31 (Canada)
1/2 (that's a half star, not one out of two)


In a word, that's what this book is. In two: Outrageously obfuscating. Three: Patently self-serving.

You get the idea.

It's what one would expect of New York Times ex-reporter Jayson Blair, who re
May 12, 2015 JMN rated it it was ok
Picked up this book because thought it had potential to be a great, insightful read, and peer into the inner workings of the NYT.

How incorrect and wrong I was. Writing style, in my view, far too choppy and all over the map to hold interest. To say I was disappointed is an understatement; While I did finish this book, it's long gone from my collection. Let another reader weave through the winding wave of mess this guy wrote and created.
Tom K
Aug 12, 2008 Tom K rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with a pulse
Recommended to Tom by: Jayson Blair
Shelves: know-the-author
Compelling. Once you read this, you may never be the same. That may be a good thing, but it just as easily could be a bad thing.

My autographed copy sits upon my shelf next to the Holy Bible.

Jayson Blair...a legendary author, an even more legendary person.

Mar 17, 2008 Matt rated it liked it
This is the single greatest book ever written. Viva Jayson!
Anna rated it liked it
Feb 19, 2015
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Aug 21, 2011
Ivor rated it it was ok
Jan 24, 2016
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Peregrine Frissell rated it it was ok
Aug 18, 2013
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Dec 25, 2007
Suzanne rated it it was ok
Jun 15, 2009
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Jayson Blair is a journalist who was forced to resign from the New York Times in May 2003, after he was caught plagiarizing and fabricating elements of his stories.
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