Cover image for The Gay Talese reader : portraits & encounters
The Gay Talese reader : portraits & encounters
Talese, Gay.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Walker & Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 265 pages ; 21 cm
New York is a city of things unnoticed -- Frank Sinatra has a cold -- The loser -- The silent season of a hero -- Peter O'Toole on the Ould Sod -- Vogueland -- Looking for Hemingway -- Joe Louis: The King as a middle-aged man -- Mr. Bad News -- Ali in Havana -- The brave tailors of Maida -- Origins of a nonfiction writer -- When I was twenty-five -- Walking my cigar.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4725 .T35 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As a young reporter for The New York Times , in 1961 Gay Talese published his first book, New York-A Serendipiter's Journey , a series of vignettes and essays that began, "New York is a city of things unnoticed. It is a city with cats sleeping under parked cars, two stone armadillos crawling up St. Patrick's Cathedral, and thousands of ants creeping on top of the Empire State Building."

Attention to detail and observation of the unnoticed is the hallmark of Gay Talese's writing, and The Gay Talese Reader brings together the best of his essays and classic profiles. This collection opens with "New York Is a City of Things Unnoticed," and includes "Silent Season of a Hero" (about Joe DiMaggio), "Ali in Havana," and "Looking for Hemingway" as well as several other favorite pieces. It also features a previously unpublished article on the infamous case of Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt, and concludes with the autobiographical pieces that are among Talese's finest writings. These works give insightinto the progression of a writer at the pinnacle of his craft.

Whether he is detailing the unseen and sometimes quirky world of New York City or profiling Ol' Blue Eyes in "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," Talese captures his subjects-be they famous, infamous, or merely unusual-in his own inimitable, elegant fashion. The essays and profiles collected in The Gay Talese Reader are works of art, each carefully crafted to create a portrait of an unforgettable individual, place or moment.

Author Notes

Gay Talese is a journalist and international best-selling author whose works include The Bridge (Walker & Company 2003), The Kingdom and the Power , Honor Thy Father , Thy Neighbors Wife , and Unto the Sons . Currently at work on the follow-up to Unto the Sons , he lives in New York City and Ocean City, New Jersey.

Barbara Lounsberry is a professor of English language and literature at the University of Northern Iowa. She is the co-author with Gay Talese of Writing Creative Nonfiction: The Literature of Reality (1996).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Talese is known, of course, as the author of such best-selling nonfiction as Honor Thy Father 0 (1978) and Thy Neighbor's Wife0 (1980). But Talese, who was born in 1932 and published his first book in 1961, began his career as a journalist when he was but a lad, writing columns and feature-length articles for a weekly newspaper while in high school. After college, he joined the New York Times0 and continued crafting his own unique brand of nonfiction. This collection, drawn from works published between 1961 and 1997, includes profiles of such notables as Frank Sinatra, Peter O'Toole, and Joe Louis; a unique and charmingly eccentric portrait of New York City; several pieces of social satire; and a couple of autobiographical essays. It demonstrates all over again why Talese was at the forefront of what was once called New Journalism. His quirky, personal nonfiction, in which the author is very much a presence, helped spawn a whole new approach to feature writing. A sterling introduction to the multitalented Talese. --David Pitt Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

If there is one fault in this wonderful and long overdue collection of nonfiction master Talese's magazine writings, it's that there is simply not enough. While this reader does not include selections from such bestselling books as The Kingdom and the Power (a look at the New York Times, where he was a reporter for 10 years), Honor Thy Father (his behind-the-scenes look at the Bonanno crime organization) or Thy Neighbor's Wife (his examination in the shift of sexual mores in the decades before AIDS), it does highlight writing from his 1993 bestselling book, Unto the Sons, which deals with his Italian-born father's journey to America. However, all of the essays collected here are priceless gems, including his classic profiles of 20th-century icons such as Joe DiMaggio ("The Silent Season of the Hero"); the recently departed George Plimpton and his Paris Review cohorts ("Looking for Hemingway"); and Frank Sinatra ("Frank Sinatra Has a Cold"), which was recently selected by Esquire as the greatest article in the magazine's 70-year history. While his previous anthology of essays, Fame & Obscurity, included his classic mid-1960s profile of legendary mobster Frank Costello, this one offers two beautiful essays on the writer's life: "When I Was Twenty-Five" and "Origins of a Nonfiction Writer." The stories here are shining examples of a time in publishing history when magazine writing was an art form and Talese its Michelangelo. This reader is a book to come back to again and again. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This beautifully written collection of essays by journalist and best-selling author Talese (The Bridge; The Kingdom and the Power), who is now in his early seventies, brings together short pieces originally published from the 1960s through the 1990s. Talese's nonfiction magazine writing was first published in the 1960s and immediately became a gold standard; his approach, which combines elegance of style with exhaustive research and features ordinary Americans, was dubbed the "New Journalism." This all-embracing collection features a variety of writing styles and reflects the author's varied interests: some pieces are purely autobiographical, others biographical (on such figures like Peter O'Toole, Joe Louis, Frank Sinatra, and Joe DiMaggio), and yet others tackle such diverse topics as tailoring, writing, and Vogue. The result is a nice addition to all public and academic libraries, especially those already owning Talese's work. Those that don't may want to start with this reader, as it truly represents the best of this still highly prolific author's work. With an introduction by Barbara Lounsberry (English language & literature, Univ. of Northern Iowa), coauthor with Talese of Writing Creative Non-Fiction: The Literature of Reality.-Terren Ilana Wein, Univ. of Chicago (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.