A Writer's Life (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
By the early 1990’s, Gay Talese was one of the leading nonfiction authors in the United States. He had first garnered national attention and a place atop the best-seller lists with his probe into the inner workings of The New York Times, titled The Kingdom and the Power (1969). Gossipy and rambling, the narrative took readers inside the operations of the paper to reveal the personalities and clashes that had shaped a great newspaper. This book made Talese a hot commodity in the world of publishing.
He had demonstrated his literary talents in a series of magazine articles on Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra that revealed his ability to get inside the skin of his subjects. Talese’s work was emblematic of the New Journalism of the 1960’s and 1970’s that went beyond the older style of straight reporting to infuse nonfiction stories with the insights and perceptions of the novelist. Talese found fascinating projects in the years that followed which resulted in a series of literary blockbusters. He had an uncanny knack of locating people and issues that the reading public wanted to know more about.
Even before the 1972 film version of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather (1969) sparked the Mafia to cult status, Talese had delved into the operations of the Bonanno crime family in Honor Thy Father (1971). He next turned to the phenomenon of freer sexuality and the lifestyles of the “swinging singles” and couples...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 102, no. 13 (March 1, 2006): 43.
The Boston Globe, May 14, 2006, pg. C7
Columbia Journalism Review 45, no. 1 (May/June, 2006): 57-61.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (April 30, 2006): 14.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 10 (March 6, 2006): 63.
USA Today, April 25, 2006, p. 6.
The Washington Post Book World, May 7, 2006, p. TO5.
The Washington Times, April 23, 2006, p. BO8.
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