The Sto­ries We Tell: Clas­sic True Tales by Amer­ica’s Great­est Women Jour­nal­ists

Patsy Sims (Editor)

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - MERED­ITH GRAHL COUNTS

The Sager Group LLC (NOVEM­BER) Soft­cover $26.95 (390pp) 978-0-9980793-1-8 The writ­ing is fan­tas­tic and top­ics are di­verse, with in-depth and beau­ti­fully writ­ten looks at mo­ments and move­ments.

This im­por­tant se­lec­tion of news sto­ries stands to be both in­struc­tive to stu­dents of jour­nal­ism and a treat for its fans.

With Made­line Blais’s cov­er­age of an Amherst girls’ bas­ket­ball team on the eve of win­ning their state cham­pi­onship, the book be­gins with a

fit­ting cel­e­bra­tory tone around women’s ac­com­plish­ment and ca­ma­raderie, and con­tin­ues on with depth and va­ri­ety. Six of the twenty se­lec­tions first ran in the

New Yorker from the 1980s to the present. They in­clude per­fectly stylish Talk of the Town pieces by Lil­lian Ross. But many re­gions of the United States are rep­re­sented here, and many pieces are from the days be­fore jour­nal­ism trav­eled over so­cial me­dia, when “vi­ral long­form” sounded like an ail­ment rather than a pub­lish­ing goal.

There are aching time cap­sules, as with Joan Did­ion’s 1966 cov­er­age of a San Ber­nadino Val­ley mur­der, and Glo­ria Steinem’s look at Jac­que­line Kennedy af­ter JFK’S as­sas­si­na­tion. More cur­rent is the still-rel­e­vant “Mothers, Sis­ters, Daugh­ters, Wives,” wherein Mimi Swartz chron­i­cled Texan pro-life leg­is­la­tion for Texas

Monthly in 2012. Won­der­ful pro­files in­clude Is­abel Wilk­er­son’s “Soul Sur­vivor” on civil-rights leader Kwame Ture, Su­san Or­lean’s on bull­fighter Cristina Sanchez, Gerri Hir­shey’s on rid­ing along with BB King for Rolling Stone, and Jill Le­pore’s fu­sion of a per­sonal es­say with an ex­cel­lently re­searched pro­file of Jane Franklin (sis­ter of Ben).

“The New Face of Richard Nor­ris,” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, is a lit­er­ary stand­out, with jar­ring prose that mir­rors its un­set­tling topic. Though, re­ally, all of the pieces in­cluded here are stand­outs. The writ­ing is fan­tas­tic and top­ics are di­verse. In-depth and beau­ti­fully writ­ten looks at mo­ments and move­ments, history and cur­rent sub­cul­tures, crime, so­ci­o­log­i­cal trends, ath­let­ics and the arts, and health and mor­tal­ity are all in­cluded.

The wide range of hu­man ex­pe­ri­ences re­ported on in this col­lec­tion some­how both sat­is­fies the need for a story and sharp­ens the hunger for more. Hap­pily, the in­tro­duc­tion notes that a sec­ond vol­ume, fo­cus­ing on newer writ­ers, is forth­com­ing via the same pub­lish­ing col­lec­tive.

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