Martin Bihl's Reviews > Lead Time: A Journalist's Education

Lead Time by Garry Wills
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's review
Feb 02, 2009

really liked it
Read in February, 2009

in the interest of full disclosure, i should point out that i'm a big fan of wills. i think he's one of the smartest writers in america today, and i marvel at the depth of his intellect, the beauty of his prose, the range of his curiousity and the discipline of his journalism.

wills is almost always interesting, but the value of this volume is two fold. first, one gets to see him as he refines and experiments with his voice. and second, one gets to see his skills treat a variety of topics - sport, politics, religion - all of which he often covers elsewhere in longer works, but gathered here under one roof. the result is dazzling, if at times, slightly dated and obscure (wills' work is always full of references and rarely does an essay go by without at least one latin phrase, but some of the political pieces are so current-to-their-time that the references to operatives are a little more arcane than one would bargain for).

and i will add one more valuable reason to read - wills' own comments on his pieces from the hindsight of ten or fifteen years - which adds a fascinating layer to these already brilliantly layered works.

in short, a great volume if you are already a fan, or if you want to find a place to introduce yourself to this great essayist.
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