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The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution

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The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Cold Blood, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Armies of the Night...

Starting in 1965 and spanning a ten-year period, a group of writers including Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, John Sack, and Michael Herr emerged and joined a few of their pioneering elders, including Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, to remake American letters. The perfect chroniclers of an age of frenzied cultural change, they were blessed with the insight that traditional tools of reporting would prove inadequate to tell the story of a nation manically hopscotching from hope to doom and back again — from war to rock, assassination to drugs, hippies to Yippies, Kennedy to the dark lord Nixon. Traditional just-the-facts reporting simply couldn't provide a neat and symmetrical order to this chaos.

Marc Weingarten has interviewed many of the major players to provide a startling behind-the-scenes account of the rise and fall of the most revolutionary literary outpouring of the postwar era, set against the backdrop of some of the most turbulent — and significant — years in contemporary American life. These are the stories behind those stories, from Tom Wolfe's white-suited adventures in the counterculture to Hunter S. Thompson's drug-addled invention of gonzo to Michael Herr's redefinition of war reporting in the hell of Vietnam. Weingarten also tells the deeper backstory, recounting the rich and surprising history of the editors and the magazines who made the movement possible, notably the three greatest editors of the era — Harold Hayes at Esquire, Clay Felker at New York, and Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone. And finally Weingarten takes us through the demise of the New Journalists, a tragedy of hubris, miscalculation, and corporate menacing.

This is the story of perhaps the last great good time in American journalism, a time when writers didn't just cover stories but immersed themselves in them, and when journalism didn't just report America but reshaped it.

Review:

"It's always complicated to write about writing (and about writers), but Marc Weingarten does it effortlessly. Every character in The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight is compelling and necessary. If this book doesn't make you want to be a journalist, nothing will." Chuck Klosterman, author of Killing Yourself to Live

Review:

"Well-researched, beautifully wrought — this is an addictively readable history of the revolution in American journalism." T. C. Boyle, author of Drop City

Review:

"Weingarten is a strong, fresh voice in contemporary cultural criticism." Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock

Review:

"Weingarten has composed a well-researched, well-written contemporary history. As a bonus, the pages can serve as a reporting and writing text of great value, because Weingarten delves into the techniques of the greats." Denver Post

Review:

"[I]ntelligent hagiography with a moderate interest in the roots, progress and eventual decline of New Journalism's methods." New York Times

Review:

"[A] fascinating read...on the history of literary journalism and some of its passionate practitioners." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Weingarten conducts new interviews and tells more behind-the-scenes stories, including the tale of the all-out war between the New Yorker and Wolfe that broke out when he wrote a story about the semicloistered nature of the magazine's editor, William Shawn. Even J.D. Salinger came out of hiding to heap insults on Wolfe." St. Petersburg Times

Synopsis:

Based on comprehensive research and interviews, this book profiles such astonishingly gifted writers as Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, who became the romantic heroes of their own tales, changing journalism and American cultural life forever.

Synopsis:

. . . In Cold Blood, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Armies of the Night . . .

Starting in 1965 and spanning a ten-year period, a group of writers including Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, John Sack, and Michael Herr emerged and joined a few of their pioneering elders, including Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, to remake American letters. The perfect chroniclers of an age of frenzied cultural change, they were blessed with the insight that traditional tools of reporting would prove inadequate to tell the story of a nation manically hopscotching from hope to doom and back againfrom war to rock, assassination to drugs, hippies to Yippies, Kennedy to the dark lord Nixon. Traditional just-the-facts reporting simply couldnt provide a neat and symmetrical order to this chaos.

Marc Weingarten has interviewed many of the major players to provide a startling behind-the-scenes account of the rise and fall of the most revolutionary literary outpouring of the postwar era, set against the backdrop of some of the most turbulentand significantyears in contemporary American life. These are the stories behind those stories, from Tom Wolfes white-suited adventures in the counterculture to Hunter S. Thompsons drug-addled invention of gonzo to Michael Herrs redefinition of war reporting in the hell of Vietnam. Weingarten also tells the deeper backstory, recounting the rich and surprising history of the editors and the magazines who made the movement possible, notably the three greatest editors of the eraHarold Hayes at Esquire, Clay Felker at New York, and Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone. And finally Weingarten takes us through the demise of the New Journalists, a tragedy of hubris, miscalculation, and corporate menacing.

This is the story of perhaps the last great good time in American journalism, a time when writers didnt just cover stories but immersed themselves in them, and when journalism didnt just report America but reshaped it.

“Within a seven-year period, a group of writers emerged, seemingly out of nowhereTom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, John Sack, Michael Herrto impose some order on all of this American mayhem, each in his or her own distinctive manner (a few old hands, like Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, chipped in, as well). They came to tell us stories about ourselves in ways that we couldnt, stories about the way life was being lived in the sixties and seventies and what it all meant to us. The stakes were high; deep fissures were rending the social fabric, the world was out of order. So they became our master explainers, our town criers, even our moral consciencethe New Journalists.” from the Introduction

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Marc Weingarten's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Observer, Entertainment Weekly, San Francisco, and Slate. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400049837
Publisher:
Three Rivers Press
Subject:
American - General
Author:
Weingarten, Marc
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
Reportage literature, American.
Subject:
Mailer, Norman - Criticism and interpretation
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Wolfe, Thompson, Did
Publication Date:
20061212
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.04x5.26x.80 in. .56 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Journalism » General

The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight: Wolfe, Thompson, Didion, Capote, and the New Journalism Revolution
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 336 pages Three Rivers Press (CA) - English 9781400049837 Reviews:
"Review" by , "It's always complicated to write about writing (and about writers), but Marc Weingarten does it effortlessly. Every character in The Gang That Wouldn't Write Straight is compelling and necessary. If this book doesn't make you want to be a journalist, nothing will."
"Review" by , "Well-researched, beautifully wrought — this is an addictively readable history of the revolution in American journalism."
"Review" by , "Weingarten is a strong, fresh voice in contemporary cultural criticism."
"Review" by , "Weingarten has composed a well-researched, well-written contemporary history. As a bonus, the pages can serve as a reporting and writing text of great value, because Weingarten delves into the techniques of the greats."
"Review" by , "[I]ntelligent hagiography with a moderate interest in the roots, progress and eventual decline of New Journalism's methods."
"Review" by , "[A] fascinating read...on the history of literary journalism and some of its passionate practitioners."
"Review" by , "Weingarten conducts new interviews and tells more behind-the-scenes stories, including the tale of the all-out war between the New Yorker and Wolfe that broke out when he wrote a story about the semicloistered nature of the magazine's editor, William Shawn. Even J.D. Salinger came out of hiding to heap insults on Wolfe."
"Synopsis" by , Based on comprehensive research and interviews, this book profiles such astonishingly gifted writers as Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe, who became the romantic heroes of their own tales, changing journalism and American cultural life forever.
"Synopsis" by , . . . In Cold Blood, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Armies of the Night . . .

Starting in 1965 and spanning a ten-year period, a group of writers including Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, John Sack, and Michael Herr emerged and joined a few of their pioneering elders, including Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, to remake American letters. The perfect chroniclers of an age of frenzied cultural change, they were blessed with the insight that traditional tools of reporting would prove inadequate to tell the story of a nation manically hopscotching from hope to doom and back againfrom war to rock, assassination to drugs, hippies to Yippies, Kennedy to the dark lord Nixon. Traditional just-the-facts reporting simply couldnt provide a neat and symmetrical order to this chaos.

Marc Weingarten has interviewed many of the major players to provide a startling behind-the-scenes account of the rise and fall of the most revolutionary literary outpouring of the postwar era, set against the backdrop of some of the most turbulentand significantyears in contemporary American life. These are the stories behind those stories, from Tom Wolfes white-suited adventures in the counterculture to Hunter S. Thompsons drug-addled invention of gonzo to Michael Herrs redefinition of war reporting in the hell of Vietnam. Weingarten also tells the deeper backstory, recounting the rich and surprising history of the editors and the magazines who made the movement possible, notably the three greatest editors of the eraHarold Hayes at Esquire, Clay Felker at New York, and Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone. And finally Weingarten takes us through the demise of the New Journalists, a tragedy of hubris, miscalculation, and corporate menacing.

This is the story of perhaps the last great good time in American journalism, a time when writers didnt just cover stories but immersed themselves in them, and when journalism didnt just report America but reshaped it.

“Within a seven-year period, a group of writers emerged, seemingly out of nowhereTom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese, Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, John Sack, Michael Herrto impose some order on all of this American mayhem, each in his or her own distinctive manner (a few old hands, like Truman Capote and Norman Mailer, chipped in, as well). They came to tell us stories about ourselves in ways that we couldnt, stories about the way life was being lived in the sixties and seventies and what it all meant to us. The stakes were high; deep fissures were rending the social fabric, the world was out of order. So they became our master explainers, our town criers, even our moral consciencethe New Journalists.” from the Introduction

From the Hardcover edition.

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