NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A fascinating portrait of journalism and the people who make it, told through pieces collected from the incomparable six-decade career of bestselling author and longtime New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin
“The Lede contains profiles . . . that are acknowledged classics of the form and will be studied until A.I. makes hash out of all of us.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
I’ve been writing about the press almost as long as I’ve been in the game. At some point, it occurred to me that disparate pieces from various places in various styles amounted to a picture from multiple angles of what the press has been like over the years since I became a practitioner and an observer.
Calvin Trillin has reported serious pieces across America for The New Yorker, covered the civil rights movement in the South for Time, and written comic verse for The Nation. But one of his favorite subjects over the years—a superb fit for his unique combination of reportage and humor—has been his own professional environment: the American press.
In The Lede, Trillin gathers his incisive, often hilarious writing on reporting, reporters, and their world. There are pieces on a legendary crime reporter in Miami and on an erudite film critic in Dallas who once a week transformed himself from a connoisseur of the French nouvelle vague into a fan of movies like Mother Riley Meets the Vampire. Trillin writes about the paucity of gossip columns in Russia, the icebreaker he'd use if he met one of his subjects socially (e.g.: “You must be wondering why I referred to you in Time as a dork robot”), and the origins of a publication called Beautiful Spot: A Magazine of Parking.
Uniting all of this is Trillin’s signature combination of empathy, humor, and graceful prose. The Lede is an invaluable portrait of one our fundamental American institutions from a master journalist.