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Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking

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Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Jessica Mitford was a member of one of England’s most legendary families (among her sisters were the novelist Nancy Mitford and the current Duchess of Devonshire) and one of the great muckraking journalists of modern times. Leaving England for America, she pursued a career as an investigative reporter and unrepentant gadfly, publicizing not only the misdeeds of, most famously, the funeral business (The American Way of Death, a bestseller) and the prison business (Kind and Usual Punishment), but also of writing schools and weight-loss programs. Mitford’s diligence, unfailing skepticism, and acid pen made her one of the great chroniclers of the mischief people get up to in the pursuit of profit and the name of good. Poison Penmanship collects seventeen of Mitford’s finest pieces—about everything from crummy spas to network-TV censorship—and fills them out with the story of how she got the scoop and, no less fascinating, how the story developed after publication. The book is a delight to read: few journalists have ever been as funny as Mitford, or as gifted at getting around in those dark, cobwebbed corners where modern America fashions its shiny promises. It’s also an unequaled and necessary manual of the fine art of investigative reporting.

Book News Annotation:

Originally published in 1979, the collection of Mitford's muckraking journalism is a classic, and we are lucky to have it back in print. Ranging from her famous skewering of the Famous Writers' School to the network television executives' cancellation of episodes dealing with venereal disease on 1960s doctor shows, these 17 pieces show the author's wit as well as her great reportorial skills. Aspiring journalists will be particularly interested in the afterwords to each essay, in which Mitford tells how she got her stories, and what happened after they were printed. If you want to know how journalism ought to be done, this is the book for you. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Originally published: New York: Knopf, 1979.

Synopsis:

Jessica Mitford (1917-1996) was the daughter of Lord and Lady Redesdale, and she and her five sisters and one brother grew up in isolation on their parents' Cotswold estate. Rebelling against her family's hidebound conservatism, Mitford became an outspoken socialist and, with her second cousin and husband-to-be Esmond Romilly, ran away to fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Romilly was killed in World War II, and Mitford moved to America, where she married the lawyer and political activist Robert Treuhaft. A brilliant muckraking journalist, Mitford was the author of, among other works, a memoir of her youth, Hons and Rebels (also published as an NYRB Classic); a study of the funeral industry, The American Way of Death; and Kind and Unusual Punishment: The Prison Business. She died at the age of seventy-eight while working on a follow-up to The American Way of Death, for which, with characteristic humor, she proposed the title Death Warmed Over.

Jane Smiley, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is the author of many novels and other works. In 2010 she published Private Life, a novel; A Good Horse, a book for young adults; and The Man Who Invented the Computer, the first volume of the Sloane American Inventors series.

About the Author

Jessica Mitford (1917–1996) was the daughter of Lord and Lady Redesdale, and she and her five sisters and one brother grew up in isolation on their parents’ Cotswold estate. Rebelling against her family’s hidebound conservatism, Mitford became an outspoken socialist and, with her second cousin and husband-to-be Esmond Romilly, ran away to fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Romilly was killed in World War II, and Mitford moved to America, where she married the lawyer and political activist Robert Treuhaft. A brilliant muckraking journalist, Mitford was the author of, among other works, a memoir of her youth, Hons and Rebels (also published as an NYRB Classic); a study of the funeral industry, The American Way of Death; and Kind and Unusual Punishment: The Prison Business. She died at the age of seventy-eight while working on a follow-up to The American Way of Death, for which, with characteristic humor, she proposed the title “Death Warmed Over.” 

Jane Smiley, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is the author of many novels and other works. In 2010 she published Private Life, a novel; A Good Horse, a book for young adults; and The Man Who Invented the Computer, the first volume of the Sloane American Inventors series.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590173558
Author:
Mitford, Jessica
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Preface by:
Smiley, Jane
Introduction by:
Smiley, Jane
Introduction:
Smiley, Jane
Author:
Smiley, Jane
Author:
Mitford, Jessica
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
Journalism-Reference
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
7.98x5.60x.84 in. .73 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Journalists
History and Social Science » Journalism » Reference
History and Social Science » Literary History » General
Hobbies, Crafts, and Leisure » Games » General
Reference » Writing » Nonfiction
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590173558 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Originally published: New York: Knopf, 1979.
"Synopsis" by , Jessica Mitford (1917-1996) was the daughter of Lord and Lady Redesdale, and she and her five sisters and one brother grew up in isolation on their parents' Cotswold estate. Rebelling against her family's hidebound conservatism, Mitford became an outspoken socialist and, with her second cousin and husband-to-be Esmond Romilly, ran away to fight against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. Romilly was killed in World War II, and Mitford moved to America, where she married the lawyer and political activist Robert Treuhaft. A brilliant muckraking journalist, Mitford was the author of, among other works, a memoir of her youth, Hons and Rebels (also published as an NYRB Classic); a study of the funeral industry, The American Way of Death; and Kind and Unusual Punishment: The Prison Business. She died at the age of seventy-eight while working on a follow-up to The American Way of Death, for which, with characteristic humor, she proposed the title Death Warmed Over.

Jane Smiley, winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is the author of many novels and other works. In 2010 she published Private Life, a novel; A Good Horse, a book for young adults; and The Man Who Invented the Computer, the first volume of the Sloane American Inventors series.

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