Reporter Seymour Hersh (Penguin Random House, $55)
“Sy” Hersh, at 81, calls himself a survivor from “the golden age of journalism, when daily newspapers were flush with cash”. The son of a Lithuanian immigrant who ran a drycleaning shop in Chicago, Hersh came to symbolise the classic gumshoe reporter, a thorn in the side of establishment buttcoverers everywhere – even in the media. One of the book’s many glories is his deadpan account of the My Lai scoop, which won him a Pulitzer. “I tucked in my shirt, drew my tie tight, grabbed my jacket and briefcase, and climbed out of the car, looking every bit like a lawyer, I hoped.” After managing to copy an upside- down charge sheet while “interviewing” a retired judge, Hersh finds Lieutenant William Calley Jr and breaks the story of the massacre of women and children by US troops in Vietnam. Hersh emerges as a veritable human squirrel: no Washington DC filing cabinet is safe from him, or the sources he still guards. Although his world view today is sometimes unconvincing, this memoir is a magnificent read, for its wryly told, scandalously newsy yarns.