eBook review copy, 368 pages
Reporting Always: Writings from The New Yorker by Lillian Ross is a very highly recommended collection of 32 selected works from the author's seven decade career at the New Yorker.
The pieces are organized into five categories rather than chronologically and cover a wide range of Ross's career. These are all intelligent looks at the individuals or subjects Ross is covering, full of details and keen observations without any hyperbole. Ross's reporting is commendable and presents quintessential examples of excellence in journalism.
Ross is the journalist who originated the entertainment profile, but followed the credo to "write only about people who want to be written about," a practice that would avoid much of the sensationalism that is often present today. Most importantly, Ross is a writer and covers her subjects in such a way to bring the subjects of her articles to life. She adds details that allow the reader to visualize the setting. Her humor and wit is clearly present in these selected pieces. As it is mentioned in the foreword: "Her hallmarks are her keen eyes and ears and an austere, straightforward style... As a storyteller, she has an abiding faith in the magical properties of facts."
Section I Players
Young and Happy (Julie Andrews); Come In, Lassie! (during the time of the Committee on Un-American activities); Sgt. Pepper the Beatles); Workouts (Robin Williams); Mr. and Mrs. Williams (Marcia Garces Williams); Auteur! Auteur! (Al Pacino); Two Dames (Maggie Smith and Judi Dench)
Section II Writers
How Do You Like It Now, Gentlemen? (Ernest Hemingway); Movement (the Beat writers); Life Line (writers and coffee houses); Theatre (Edward Albee); Oprah’s Understudy (Gayle King)
Section III Youngsters
Symbol of All We Possess (Miss America Pageant); The Yellow Bus (students from Indiana visiting NYC); Dancers in May (excerpt, maypoles dances); Mays at St. Bernard’s (Willie Mays); The Shit-Kickers of Madison Avenue (private school 10th grade students in NYC)
Section IV New Yorkers
El Único Matador Sidney Franklin, bullfighter); Terrific (1954 Junior League ball in NYC); The Big Stone (Harry Winston); The Sporting Scene (John McEnroe); Camaraderie (Ralph Kiner); Ellen Barkin at Home
Section V Big Cheeses
Feeling Lost (Charlie Chaplin); Picture, Part I: Throw the Little Old Lady down the Stairs! (John Huston); Coco Chanel; With Fellini; Rag Trade (Mario Testino); Wes Anderson in Hamilton Heights; Lunch with Agnes (Agnes Martin); Nothing Fancy (Clint Eastwood); Money Honeys (big Republican political donors)