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The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism
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The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  232 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
This fascinating compilation of the journalist's art unites the reporter's magnificent eye for detail with the novelist's gift for storytelling. Featuring eyewitness accounts of war and social revolution, profiles of sports heroes and politicians, and eye-opening investigations into both the mundane and the eccentric details of life, it includes:


Preface by Ben Ya
Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 3rd 1998 by Scribner (first published August 8th 1997)
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I read this for a nonfiction seminar at Portland State. Some of the best: Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson, and Michael Herr. Plenty of other wonderful writers represented.

These selections all have elements of fiction that you already enjoy, but used here to convey truth. An apt blending of factual and fantastical. A must-read for students of nonfiction.
Dick Reynolds
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was a Christmas present from my daughter-in-law and I can’t remember a gift I’ve enjoyed so much.
There are fifty-eight pieces in the book and they span a great variety and time frame of literary journalism beginning with entries by Defoe, Boswell and Dickens, and winding up with Tom Wolfe and Joan Didion. Many of these pieces are extracts of a larger work and are so entertaining and well-written that you immediately want to read the entire work. It’s like being confronted with a grou
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Incredible collection of literary journalism so well-written and tight that the pieces at times left me breathless. Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda do a wonderful job of explaining historical context and stylistic significance before each piece. This is a friend's textbook from her journalism master's program at Columbia, but it's so good that I would honestly buy a copy for my own reading pleasure. Don't miss.
Jasmine Dilmanian
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An amazing compendium of the best writing in modern history. One of my favorites.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've always loved the type of journalism that puts the reader in the middle of a vivid scene--true stories written with a novelist's attention to detail.

Kerrane has collected a beautifully diverse series of just this type of writing. This anthology of literary journalism includes essays, articles, and feature stories from the time of pioneers like Dickens and Orwell to more contemporary journalists like John Steinbeck and David Simon.

It's the kind of writing that makes you think--outside of yo
Clarence Cromwell
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing

The best selection of literary journalism I've seen. This volume includes the usual suspects (Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson--yawn) as well as my favorites: Joan Didion and John Steinbeck. Also found a new interest in Jimmy Breslin who has heretofore remained beneath the radar.

A very useful book for comparing styles and techniques; or for absorbing ideas about different ways to approach a story.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This was an incredible cross-sampling of journalism through the ages, starting with a Q&A article written in the 17th century and ending with a tear-jerker column from the 1990s. Inbetween are dozens of amazing stories that stealthily show you the evolution of journalism to story teller. This is a must read for journalism fans or anyone who defines themselves as a story teller.
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Not going to lie, I had both these guys as professors, so my review might be biased. If you want to know about the history of journalism and sprinkle some of the greatest fiction writing in between, this is the anthology for you. It's great.
Rania QI
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Every piece in this anthology stimulated my passion for literary journalism. Some of the pantheons of this field are included in this book: Gay Talese, George Orwell, Morris Markey, Tom Wolfe, just to name a few. It makes a perfect addition to any creative nonfiction collection.
I took a literary journalism class with a classically absent-minded professor, did very little of the assigned work, and ended up with a C+. I was ready to write off the whole experience as a waste of time, but then I took a closer look at the assigned text, which was great.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-excerpts
I only read a selection from this book, but it included interesting and well-written non-fiction stories. One of my favorites was entitles, "The Bronx Slave Market."
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: required-reading
My favorite collection of essays!!
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“‎Theorists of journalism have long noted parallels to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in physics: by reporting on something, one subtly but irrevocably changes it.” 2 likes
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