Jimmy Breslin: Essential Writings (LOA #377) (Hardcover)

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Jimmy Breslin: Essential Writings (LOA #377) By Jimmy Breslin, Dan Barry (Editor) Cover Image

Jimmy Breslin: Essential Writings (LOA #377) (Hardcover)

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The Library of America has collected 72 of Breslin’s columns which essentially tell the history of the later part of the twentieth century. The struggle for Civil Rights, Vietnam, Trump, Son of Sam, and the murder of John Lennon are just of few of the topics that Breslin lent his unique perspective to. Who would have thought to cover the assassination of JFK through the eyes of the man who dug his grave – Breslin would.

— Andy

Rediscover the golden age of journalism, when columns were events, through this collection of more than 70 pieces by a master stylist and larger-than-life character on the New York and national scene from JFK to Trump

Plus, on its 50th anniversary, revisit the Watergate summer in How the Good Guys Finally Won, an unforgettable portrait of the Congressional leaders who took down a rogue president


"He opened us up to a world of possibilities. What we did with them was our concern. He had his own work to do. No one ever did it better." 
—John Schulian

Across a career spanning six decades, from the Kennedy assassination to 9/11, Jimmy Breslin was the greatest newspaper columnist of his era. 

The 72 columns selected here by editor Dan Barry, more than half of which have not been reprinted since initial publication, reveal Breslin at his best, addressing stories of national and global importance but more often uncovering tales of ordinary New Yorkers, by turns tragic or absurd but always gripping to read. Gathered here are the highlights of his consummate deadline artistry: his celebrated interview with the man who dug the grave for John F. Kennedy, his coverage of the assassination of Malcolm X, his dispatches from the South at the height of the Civil Rights movement and from Vietnam, accounts of his involvement with the “Son of Sam” case as the serial killer who terrorized New York City in 1977, his story about John Lennon’s murder in 1980, his award-winning series about the AIDS crisis in 1986, and his disgusted glimpse of Donald Trump conning the press corps during a book promotion in 1990.  

These masterful columns are joined by two of Breslin’s books: How the Good Guys Finally Won (1976), one of the best accounts of the Watergate scandal, centered on House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill and his allies, whose success in forcing Richard Nixon for office scored an unlikely victory for U.S. democracy; and The Short Sweet Dream of Eduardo Gutiérrez (2002), the story of an immigrant laborer killed at a construction site in Brooklyn and of the malfeasance among developers, city officials, and others that enabled the accident to happen.

As quintessentially a New York figure as the memorable urban characters he portrayed, Breslin nonetheless transcended the confines of his local audience and became a national celebrity, writing with a novelist’s awareness of the telling detail that reveals the depth of a person’s, and a people's, character.
Jimmy Breslin (1928–2017) was born and raised in Queens in New York City. He began his long newspaper career as a sportswriter for the Long Island Press. He went on to write regularly as a columnist for the New York Herald-Tribune, the Daily News (two stints), and Newsday. Breslin’s many awards included the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, a George Polk Memorial Award, and an American Society of Newspaper Editors Award.  

Dan Barry has been a reporter and columnist for the New York Times since 1995. His awards include the Best American Newspaper Narrative Award in 2015; the Mike Berger Award from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2005; and the American Society of Newspaper Editors Award for deadline reporting in 2003. He is the author of several books including This Land: America, Lost and Found (2018), a collection of his “This Land” columns first published in the Times.
Product Details ISBN: 9781598537680
ISBN-10: 1598537687
Publisher: Library of America
Publication Date: February 27th, 2024
Pages: 734
Language: English
“Breslin touched nearly all the bases of New York newspapering … He now joins the handful of journalists—among them, A.J. Liebling—in the august roster of authors collected by the Library of America. The magnificent journalism Breslin produced in his long career amounts to a pocket history of our times—high and low—told with energetic reporting and an unmistakable verve.” —The Wall Street Journal