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Life Stories: Profiles from The New Yorker

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One of art's purest challenges is to translate a human being into words. The New Yorker has met this challenge more successfully and more originally than any other modern American journal. It has indelibly shaped the genre known as the Profile. Starting with light-fantastic evocations of glamorous and idiosyncratic figures of the twenties and thirties, such as Henry Luce and Isadora Duncan, and continuing to the present, with complex pictures of such contemporaries as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Richard Pryor, this collection of New Yorker Profiles presents readers with a portrait gallery of some of the most prominent figures of the twentieth century. These Profiles are literary-journalistic investigations into character and accomplishment, motive and madness, beauty and ugliness, and are unrivalled in their range, their variety of style, and their embrace of humanity.

Including these twenty-eight profiles:

"Mr. Hunter's Grave" by Joseph Mitchell
"Secrets of the Magus" by Mark Singer
"Isadora" by Janet Flanner
"The Soloist" by Joan Acocella
"Time . . . Fortune . . . Life . . . Luce" by Walcott Gibbs
"Nobody Better, Better Than Nobody" by Ian Frazier
"The Mountains of Pi" by Richard Preston
"Covering the Cops" by Calvin Trillin
"Travels in Georgia" by John McPhee
"The Man Who Walks on Air" by Calvin Tomkins
"A House on Gramercy Park" by Geoffrey Hellman
"How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen?" by Lillian Ross
"The Education of a Prince" by Alva Johnston
"White Like Me" by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"Wunderkind" by A. J. Liebling
"Fifteen Years of The Salto Mortale" by Kenneth Tynan
"The Duke in His Domain" by Truman Capote
"A Pryor Love" by Hilton Als
"Gone for Good" by Roger Angell
"Lady with a Pencil" by Nancy Franklin
"Dealing with Roseanne" by John Lahr
"The Coolhunt" by Malcolm Gladwell
"Man Goes to See a Doctor" by Adam Gopnik
"Show Dog" by Susan Orlean
"Forty-One False Starts" by Janet Malcolm
"The Redemption" by Nicholas Lemann
"Gore Without a Script" by Nicholas Lemann
"Delta Nights" by Bill Buford

624 pages, Paperback

First published February 29, 2000

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About the author

David Remnick

55 books297 followers
David Remnick (born October 29, 1958) is an American journalist, writer, and magazine editor. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for his book Lenin s Tomb The Last Days of the Soviet Empire. Remnick has been editor of The New Yorker magazine since 1998. He was named Editor of the Year by Advertising Age in 2000. Before joining The New Yorker, Remnick was a reporter and the Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post. He has also served on the New York Public Library’s board of trustees. In 2010 he published his sixth book, The Bridge The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.

Remnick was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, the son of a dentist, Edward C. Remnick, and an art teacher, Barbara (Seigel). He was raised in Hillsdale, New Jersey, in a secular Jewish home with, he has said, “a lot of books around.” He is also childhood friends with comedian Bill Maher. He graduated from Princeton University in 1981 with an A.B. in comparative literature; there, he met writer John McPhee and helped found The Nassau Weekly. Remnick has implied that after college he wanted to write novels, but due to his parents’ illnesses, he needed a paying job—there was no trust fund to rely on. Remnick wanted to be a writer, so he chose a career in journalism, taking a job at The Washington Post. He is married to reporter Esther Fein of The New York Times and has three children, Alex, Noah, and Natasha. He enjoys jazz music and classic cinema and is fluent in Russian.

He began his reporting career at The Washington Post in 1982 shortly after his graduation from Princeton. His first assignment was to cover the United States Football League. After six years, in 1988, he became the newspaper’s Moscow correspondent, which provided him with the material for Lenin's Tomb. He also received the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism.

Remnick became a staff writer at The New Yorker in September, 1992, after ten years at The Washington Post.

Remnick’s 1997 New Yorker article “Kid Dynamite Blows Up,” about boxer Mike Tyson, was nominated for a National Magazine Award. In 1998 he became editor, succeeding Tina Brown. Remnick promoted Hendrik Hertzberg, a former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and former editor of The New Republic, to write the lead pieces in “Talk of the Town,” the magazine’s opening section. In 2005 Remnick earned $1 million for his work as the magazine’s editor.

In 2003 he wrote an editorial supporting the Iraq war in the days when it started. In 2004, for the first time in its 80-year history, The New Yorker endorsed a presidential candidate, John Kerry.

In May 2009, Remnick was featured in a long-form Twitter account of Dan Baum’s career as a New Yorker staff writer. The tweets, written over the course of a week, described the difficult relationship between Baum and Remnick, his editor.

Remnick’s biography of President Barack Obama, The Bridge, was released on April 6, 2010. It features hundreds of interviews with friends, colleagues, and other witnesses to Obama’s rise to the presidency of the United States. The book has been widely reviewed in journals.

In 2010 Remnick lent his support to the campaign urging the release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of ordering the murder of her husband by her lover and adultery.

In 2013 Remnick ’81 was the guest speaker at Princeton University Class Day.

Remnick provided guest commentary and contributed to NBC coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia including the opening ceremony and commentary for NBC News.

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5 stars
147 (38%)
4 stars
165 (43%)
3 stars
59 (15%)
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6 (1%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Chrissie.
2,651 reviews1,485 followers
June 17, 2017
Below are listed the essays in the order they appear in the book. In parentheses are the persons about which the respective essays are about. Then is stated the author and my personal rating of the essay. Please do keep in mind that even a 2 stars rating indicates that I felt the essay was OK, 3 stars means I liked it, 4 that I liked it a lot and 5 that it was fantastic. The average of my ratings comes to between 3 and 4. I am choosing to give the entire book 4 because when I look at the whole, I liked it a lot. Some essays were very funny. Others told me stuff about people I knew absolutely nothing about; they made me curious to know more. None were bad, but for some of the 2 star essays I just felt they could have given me more or I had a hard getting interested. I have put a few comments under each essay.

1.How Do You Like it Now, Gentlemen? (Ernest Hemingway), by Lillian Ross (3stars)
* It is interesting to observe that Hemingway never seemed really to listen to people; people conversing don’t seem to be relating to what the other says!

2.Lady with a Pencil (Katharine White), by Nancy Franklin (4stars)
* Having just read essays by E.B. White (One Man's Meat) I totally enjoyed learning about his wife! Who would have known what a fascinating person she would prove to be too?!

3.Wunderkind (Floyd Patterson), by A.J. Liebling (2 stars)
* Boxing is hard for me to get enthused about.

4.A Pryor Love (Richard Pryor), by Hilton Als (3 stars)
* Pryor’s belief that humor can and should be used to lessen hatred struck a chord with me.

5.A Duke in His Domain (Marlon Brando), by Truman Capote (3 stars) * He often said not to pay attention to what he said; tomorrow he may think differently. I liked the description of places in Japan and learning about his relationship with his parents.

6.The Coolhunt (Baysie Wightman and DeeDee Gordon), by Michael Gladwell (4 stars)
* In fancy words this is about “diffusion research”; in simple terms it’s about spotting trendsetters or what and who is and will be cool. For a person totally uninterested in trends, that I should found this essay so fascinating is in itself utterly amazing.

7.Mr. Hunter's Grave (George H. Hunter), by Joseph Mitchell (5 stars)
* This is about an 87 year old Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the African Methodist Church on Staten Island. It is about the community of people who lived on “Sandy Ground” going back to the mid-1800s, about oyster fishing and clam bakes and wild flowers and grave stones. It is beautifully written. It is about a place people need to know once existed. This essay is one of the many found in the anthology Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.You don’t want to miss this book! Then you will want to read Man in Profile: Joseph Mitchell of The New Yorker too.

8.The Man Who Walks on Air (Philippe Petit), by Calvin Tomkins (3 stars)
* Definitely interesting, particularly if you have already read Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin. Both are about the very same high-wire artist.

9.Isadora (Isadora Duncan), by Janet Flanner (2 stars)
* In fact it was this essay that pushed me to choose the book. I wanted to learn more about the famed American dancer Isadore Duncan. It gave me very little.

10.Nobody Better, Better Than Nobody (Heloise), by Ian Frazier (4 stars)
* I knew nothing about this syndicated columnist! She is every home-maker’s guru. This is extremely funny. Now I want to read her columns. She advises one to “never to clean out a drawer when you are not in a throw-away-mood.” Having worked in a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Parlor she refutes the claim that “You’ll get tired of ice cream if you work there.” She finally quit because she gained so much weight! I would have to quit too. No, I would never take such a job!

11.Covering the Cops (Edna Buchanan), by Calvin Trillin (3 stars)
* Edna Buchanan was a reporter for the Miami Herald.She was the reporter that covered the cops, and yeah she specialized in murder. The article is well written; you are pulled in close and it has humor.

12.Show Dog (Biff Truesdale), by Susan Orlean (4 stars)
* Biff is a boxer. I mean the dog type. I don’t know really if I was supposed to laugh from start to finish, but I did. It is about dog trainers, dog breeders and dog showing.

Okay, these are only essays; they are not deep biographies. The title is accurate. We are promised profiles and we are given profiles. What we read is well written. I laughed and I learned and my interest was whetted for more.

The audiobook is narrated by Philip Bosco, Amy Irving and Alton Fitzgerald White. All are very well done. Easy to follow and read with understanding of what was written. Humor is captured well too.
Profile Image for Ian Laird.
296 reviews56 followers
September 3, 2022
I got quite excited when I found these profiles from the New Yorker because one of them is the celebrated 1950 piece on Ernest Hemingway by Lillian Ross. She was a reporter I enjoyed long ago for her famous account of making the film The Red Badge of Courage, directed by John Huston and starring Audie Murphy, the decorated American World War Two hero. It was first published as articles in the magazine then released in book form, Picture ( 1952).

John Huston emerges as something of a buffoon, Ross’s technique being to accumulate minute observations of his behaviour and that of his cast and crew over an extended period. While there was little that was overtly derogatory, the details added up to pompous egotism in Huston’s case and Audie Murphy came across as a prissy whiner. The key lay in the selection of the detail.

However, I was young then and didn’t care much either way for Huston or Murphy and most of the people on the shoot. Now I am old, and I have become a late fan of Hemingway, indeed a defender, particularly after reading his intensely personal memoir of Paris A Moveable Feast, told with unaffected candour, warmth and generating a desire in me to write as clearly as he did.

I was therefore concerned about how Papa Hemingway might emerge in a lengthy Ross profile. While it is unflattering in some ways - Hemingway is made to look childish at times, somewhat moody, perhaps petulant and above all putting on a show - I learned from other sources that Hemingway liked the profile and indeed he and Ross became friends: she wrote a follow up piece some years later. I think this means Hemingway didn’t care too much about how he emerged and wasn’t too precious about it.

Ross spends several days with Hemingway and his wife Mary when they stop over in New York before sailing for Europe. Hemingway had specified: ‘‘I don’t want to see anybody I don’t like…Am going to try to get into town and out without having to shoot my mouth off. Not seeing news people is not a pose. It is only to have time to see your friends”…"Time is the least thing we have of.” (p223) But then Ross then opens with: ‘Time did not seem to be pressing Hemingway the day he flew in from Havana’ (p223), thus setting up a tone of subtle disparagement. Ross is at pains to describe Hemingway’s apparel on arrival at Idlewild Airport. He is wearing all wool:
Hemingway was wearing a red plaid wool shirt, a figured wool necktie, a tan wool sweater-vest, a brown tweed jacket tight across the back and with sleeves too short for his arms, gray flannel slacks. Argyle socks, and loafers, and he looked bearish, cordial and constricted. (p224)
Wow! It’s going to be difficult to recover from such a description. Let’s hope Ross actually talks about Hemingway’s writing, his ideas and philosophy.

Hemingway carries a battered briefcase with the unfinished manuscript of Across the River and into the Trees (published later that year, 1950) inspired by his rediscovering Venice and prompting Mary Hemingway to spell out some of the chores for her husband while in New York, including purchasing a short history of Italy, an ‘elementary Italian grammar’ and an overcoat.

Hemingway makes his dislike of New York clear. Of course, he loves Paris, which would be apparent to readers of A Moveable Feast, but he had not written that memoir yet. Hemingway talks expansively and affectionately of the city: we can ‘go to cafes where I know no-one but one waiter and his replacement, see all the new pictures and the old ones, go to the bike races and the fights…Find good cheap restaurants where you can keep your own napkin. Walk all over town and see where we made our mistakes and where we had our few bright ideas.’ (p227).

At one stage Mary appears wearing a full length mink coat. Later their friend, Marlene Dietrich, visits their hotel suite, and also appears in a full length mink coat. Hemingway and Dietrich reminisce about their time together in the war, Mary Hemingway as well, she was a war correspondent. Dietrich enjoyed entertaining the troops in Europe and says regretfully looking back that people in the war ‘were not so selfish and they helped each other.’(p232)

Ensconced in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, Hemingway becomes discursive on caviar and champagne, using baseball and boxing analogies, as he often does. He makes the point that writers who have never experienced war cannot write about it, because they don’t know what it is really like, a point with which I agree, with some exceptions, witness Marcus Zusak The Book Thief and Anthony Doerr All the Light You Cannot See, although these two are writing in the main about life in wartime rather than warfare in the narrow sense. Hemingway, bizarrely then sees himself ‘fighting’ several writers: ‘I started out very quiet and I beat Mr Turgenev. Then I trained hard and beat Mr de Maupassant. I’ve fought two draws with Mr Stendhal, and I think I had an edge in the last one. But nobody’s going to get me in any ring with Mr Tolstoy unless I’m crazy or I keep getting better’ (p229). This is four years before Hemingway wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Hemingway and Ross go shopping for a coat and Hemingway is less than enthusiastic until he sees an old friend Winston Guest, the well-bred polo champion. They go off together to collect a gun Guest has ordered a 'ten-gauge Magnum.’ After that they discussed a man who had caught a one thousand and six pound black marlin, at which point, Hemingway says ‘How do you like it now, gentlemen?’, which he seems to utter from time to time to indicate thoughtfulness.

The next day Hemingway goes off with his son Patrick to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they admire Rubens, El Greco and Reynolds but Hemingway gets excited by the impressionists Cézanne and Degas. Back at the Hotel, publisher Charles Scribner has a contract for the new book, an advance of $25,000 against royalties. As he has done before, Hemingway strikes a boxing pose and jabs at the air: ‘Never let them hit you solid.’ (p243)

Hemingway was a man of great and it seems genuine passions: boxing, baseball, game fishing, shooting, travel, art and his friends. That comes across compellingly, in Lillian Ross’s profile, and perhaps that is why Hemingway liked it. He also comes across as moody, cantankerous, fixated on competition, wary of slowing down, but riding the ups as well as the downs: ‘What you win in Boston, you lose in Chicago.’ (p244)


I apologise for telling you about one profile only. There were 28 in the collection, all with their points of interest I’m sure, but I had heard of just eleven of the people and the Hemingway piece was the one I was really interested in.
Profile Image for Kyle.
5 reviews1 follower
February 22, 2011
So I haven't actually read this whole book, just several of the essays, but I have been spending a lot of my time lately with my nose in the New Yorker archives. My print subscription ran out a few months ago, but for some reason my digital subscription and archive access hasn't changed.

The biggest problem with the New Yorker archives is that unless you know what you're looking for, it's hard to run across anything interesting. What they need is a digital archivist, like Sports Illustrated has, who can recall important or timely articles and feature them on the archives homepage. They dabble a little with that now, but it could be so much better.

So anyways, I've just been typing "New Yorker" into Amazon, which brings up dozens of anthologies of New Yorker articles, arranged by subject. Then I click on the subject I want to read about, like Sports or Profiles, and click "Table of Contents". I pick the article I want, and then search for it in the New Yorker archives.

The New Yorker archive really should be considered a national treasure. Some enterprising person really needs to set up a blog or twitter feed highlighting awesome articles and stories from the magazine- Before I stumbled on this Amazon "Read Now- Table of Contents" method, I was looking for just such a place on the internet, but as far as I can tell it doesn't exist.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 1 book191 followers
October 27, 2018
Re-reading this collection ten years later, it strikes me that a lot of these profiles haven't aged very well, especially ones written by male writers on female subjects. The one exception, the profile that most endures, to me at least, is Janet Malcolm's "41 False Starts," which is a masterpiece of form echoing content.
Profile Image for Matthew.
234 reviews63 followers
March 16, 2014
This was amazing -- the best collection of essays I've read since, well, the best American essays of the century collection. Coming from the New Yorker this collection has more of a formula (there is a certain style that runs throughout, despite the variation in subject) and I suppose a certain similarity of perspective -- that of an uptown Eastern elite looking with somewhat clinical interest down on the specimen... Nonetheless these are wonderfully entertaining and also terribly educational (for a non-American reader).

My two particular favorites were the long profiles of Johnny Carson and Roseanne; both are so instructive on what seems to be a very American phenomenon, the talk show; both also hosted very different programs. The most endearing though is the one about Carol Ruckdeschel, an otherwise undistinguished young biologist who was living off the land (and roadkill) in Georgia; just beautifully written and a fascinating and attractive lifestyle. There are also several profiles on artistes (rope-walker Philippe Petit, writer Ernest Hemingway, comedian/actor Richard Pryor, actor Marlon Brando, and a funny short one on showdog Biff Truesdale), a couple on athletes (pitcher Steve Blass, boxer Floyd Patterson), and a couple on politicians (George H W Bush, Al Gore) -- this selection I think reflects the heroes in the American imagination. There was only one sort-of intellectual -- Anatole Broyard, a literary critic and even this was chosen I think because of the race angle (he was black passing as white), though there is one interesting one on the Chudnosky brothers (a pair of mathematicians) and again this I think was chosen for its queerness (they are calculating pi to the billionth decimal) and for the uniqueness of the situation (the younger brother is disabled and they are unable to get tenure) rather than for their intellectual contribution; there are no other intellectuals/academics in the selection which I thought a pity.
13 reviews1 follower
October 2, 2020
the only one i keep coming back to is 'travels in georgia,' 1973. a profile of biologist/ecologist carol ruckdeschel by john mcphee. it's available online. read it
903 reviews1 follower
December 9, 2020
This one took me a while to read (about 6 weeks). I would read one profile and then feel the need to sort of “digest” it before going onto the next one. I read them all, and the ones I particularly enjoyed were about Ricky Jay, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ponce Evans (Heloise), Edna Buchanan, Johnny Carson, Roseanne Barr and Steve Blass. All were beautifully written and utterly fascinating.
107 reviews
May 12, 2017
Ricky Jay, Baryshnikov, Brando, and Anatole Broyard are by far the most interesting and well-written profiles.
Profile Image for Lee Mueller.
11 reviews
July 25, 2019
Quite good; a wide range of interesting people profiled by interesting people.
Profile Image for Bronwyn.
Author 5 books46 followers
September 30, 2013
This is a big fat book of over 600 pages. But the quality of the writing and variety of the subject matter keeps it fresh. I especially loved checking out the different approaches the writers take to reveal their subjects -- some conventional and some much less so. Mr. Hunter's Grave (the first story) is the master of the form. It's so quiet and unassuming with such beautiful prose. The Education of a Prince wins for pure reading enjoyment. Dealing with Roseanne is funny and bold and is the best psychological investigation of any person in the book, though the Carson profile, Fifteen Years of the Salto Mortale comes close (though it's a better portrait of an industry). I wanted to hate Forty-One False Starts, a portrait of David Salle, for its obvious anti-memoir structure and obvious correlation with the artist's type of work but you end up acknowledging it's the only way to tackle such an overexposed character. And finally, Delta Nights (Lucinda Williams) is a great way to end the book -- it's full of smoky atmosphere and it's a very rich and unflinching portrait. If you love memoir, profiles, and of course The New Yorker this is a big, meaty book that I found made for a great vacation read.
65 reviews
May 12, 2011
I did not read this whole book BUT: there are two profiles in it that are utterly brilliant and
The most amazing one is on Ricky Jay, the magician, scholar, and unclassifiable entertainer.
I recall reading it in the New Yorker years ago and being blown away by it. Jay is probably
a true genius and might possibly be able to do real magic, if the stories told here about him
are true. You have to read it to believe it. Plus, the article serves as a sort of introduction into
the world of serious adult magic...yes, I just wrote that. The schools of thought, rivalries, egos,
attempts to keep and/or trade secrets...it boggles the mind.
Finally, worth the price of the book is the description of Jay's forced interaction with his magician

The other wonderful profile is on Hemingway and it's a chilling portrait of Papa near the end

(My wife read the one on two mathematicians who work with 'pi' and she loved it, even
copied it for her high school Calculus class).
Profile Image for Kate.
21 reviews
January 30, 2008
These stories make the ordinary extraordinary, and although that may sound like a back cover review quote, it's true. I started reading this book to get a break from Guns, Germs, and Steel. I felt like every time I read about a new historical tribe or new society, it was a tease because the next chapter was about crops spread around the world before the year of Christ. I do enjoy the book and I understand the magnitude of its purpose. However, I miss hearing about people... Individuals like Mr. Hunter who owns a grave and studies the wild flowers that grow around gravestones... And looked up icing in the dictionary and it said "frosting for a cake," and then he looked up frosting and it said "icing for a cake."
89 reviews8 followers
March 16, 2009
One of the best books I've ever read. Sometimes when I read New Yorker Profiles, I think they're a little too in-depth. I read the first third and think, ok, I'm good, but then it goes on and on beyond that point.

But right now this worked for me. Almost every profile opened up dozens of doors in my mind, led me down new paths of thinking. And almost every profile had at least one (some had a dozen) references which I didn't quite get; I thought more than once that going back and rereading, taking the time to look up every single reference I didn't know and every single unfamiliar word, would be as good as a college education in itself.
Profile Image for flannery.
360 reviews23 followers
November 20, 2011
I was going to read the essays on Roseanne and Richard Pryor and call it quits but this whole book is really incredible. Especially and unexpectedly interesting: essays on the Chudnovsky Bros., Anatole Broyard, Ricky Jay, and Heloise. On Anatole Broyard:

"You know, he turned it into a joke. And when you change something basic about yourself into a joke, it spreads, it metastasizes, and so his whole presentation of self became completely ironic. Everything about him was ironic."

Also introduced me to this In Living Color skit which touches some vital nerve for me.
Profile Image for Jenna Fisher.
67 reviews4 followers
March 18, 2014
Some amazing profiles in here. And some older, less interesting ones. Two that surprised me were "Dealing with Rosanne" by John Lahr - he painted such a full portrait of what she has overcome to be who she is. I was floored. And "Man Goes to See a Doctor (Max Grosskurth) by Adam Gopnik. That one brought tears to my eyes: a weird thing task when you're reading about someone's shrink.

Also enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's "The Coolhunt" and Nancy Franklin's "Lady with a Pencil" about Katharine White and Hilton Als' profile of Richard Pryor.
Profile Image for Mary Whisner.
Author 4 books9 followers
March 31, 2013
A collection of profiles from the magazine that invented (or notably developed) the genre, the subjects range from Ernest Heningway to an unknown state wildlife employee. The charm of the anthology is not only in the pieces, which are individually interesting, nor in the authors, who are among the twentieth century's best, but in their arrangement. It adds something to read a profile of Mikhail Baryshnikov right after a profile of Isadora Duncan from several decades earlier.bb
Profile Image for Ogi Ogas.
Author 11 books83 followers
March 6, 2020
My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.
Profile Image for Wendy.
Author 5 books50 followers
April 23, 2008
I wanted this book to be perfect and it wasn't. It made me realize that too many New Yorker profiles are too long and too staidly written. That said, there are some fantastic examples of the form here. The contributions from Richard Preston, Lillian Ross, Henry Louis Gates, Jr, and janet Malcolm are stunning.
Profile Image for Francisco.
2 reviews
November 4, 2011
Read profiles of a gentleman named Hemmingway and a doting New Yorker magazine woman editor Katherine White who was the consummate worrier over the magazine's writers. Included also are Al Gore and Adam Gopnik. In the latter, Mr. Gopnik writes about his experience with psychoanalysis and learns about some worthwhile things in Life.
Profile Image for Ke.
897 reviews7 followers
August 22, 2012
In my opinion, some profiles were better than others (Ross' Hemingway rocked!). However, the collection contains such a big variety that I believe it will have a profile that will interest anyone.

8/22/12 - This book also gives the reader an idea what kind of nonfiction writers the reader enjoys.
470 reviews48 followers
July 23, 2015
This was a wonderful book. The people profiled in this book had interesting lives and the authors of the stores did a great job of articulating that point. I really liked the George W Bush and Al Gore profiles - one right after the other. The first profile - "Mister Hunter's Grave" is amazing. Could go on. I loved them all.
Profile Image for Susan.
51 reviews
December 28, 2008
These are examples of an amazing genre. I love to read the New Yorker's profiles when I have time. Joseph Mitchell, the author of Mr. Hunter's Grave," has a collection out entitled Up in the Old Hotel, which I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Michael.
220 reviews12 followers
November 15, 2012
I wish I could write half as well as these writers. Brilliant profiles, a huge inspiration to my own writing. Even if you're not a writer you should really enjoy the stories of some of these people. Some of my favourite profiles were of Marlon Brando, Steve Blass and Ricky Jay, among others.
Profile Image for Lydia.
150 reviews2 followers
June 23, 2015
Life Stories is a collection of profiles published in the New Yorker. Most are by famous New Yorker writers—Joseph Mitchell, AJ Liebling, Lillian Ross, Ian Frazier—but only one piece from each writer was allowed by the editor.
Profile Image for Stewart.
701 reviews9 followers
February 24, 2016
A marvelous collection of some of the best "Profiles" pieces from "The New Yorker" magazine over the last 80 years. The writing is impeccable, the subjects fascinating, and the pleasure quotient immeasurable.
Profile Image for Carrie.
20 reviews11 followers
June 21, 2007
These profiles are my reason for reading The New Yorker mostly, and here are a bunch of the good ones, all collected in a book!
Profile Image for Anna.
107 reviews11 followers
September 4, 2007
These are amazing. I recommend that everyone keep this on your nighttable.
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