March 15, 2013
Journalism
DEADLINE ARTISTS
Scandals, Tragedies, and Triumphs: More of America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns

Edited by John Avlon, Jesse Angelo & Errol Louis

Overlook. 399 pp. $29.95

In 2011, Overlook Press came out with “Deadline Artists,” one of the greatest collections of newspaper articles ever compiled. The volume included Bob Considine’s breathless account of Joe Louis knocking out Max Schmeling, Thomas Boswell’s tally of why baseball is so much better than football and Mitch Albom’s searing account of a teenager’s murder and its impact on a small Michigan town. I read the book in a day. Now John Avlon of the Daily Beast; Jesse Angelo, recently named publisher of the New York Post; and Errol Louis of NY1 News in New York have put together an equally superb sequel, “Deadline Arists: Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs.”

This volume includes Meyer Berger’s New York Times account of a 1949 mass shooting in Camden, N.J., an immense effort when in one afternoon Berger made his way from New York to Camden, interviewed 56 people, pecked out a 4,000-word article in two hours and received a Pulitzer Prize; Nellie Bly’s 1887 account from inside a New York insane asylum; and Hodding Carter Jr.’s portrait of a Japanese American regiment fighting in Italy during World War II.

We travel with William Laurence, the only reporter aboard the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. We follow Lindsay Denison to a Ku Klux Klan klavern in New Jersey and Paul Avery tracking the Zodiac Killer in San Francisco.


’Deadline Artists--Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs:: More of America's Greatest Newspaper Columns’ by John P. Avlon, Jesse Angelo and Errol Louis (Overlook)

Like the former volume, this one includes some of the titans of reporting: Mike Royko, Jimmy Breslin, Red Smith, Shirley Povich and Carl Hiaasen. It also includes long-forgotten gems from deceased broadsheets: the New York World-Telegram, the Xenia Daily Gazette and the Carolina Israelite. Like its predecessor, “Deadline Artists” conveys the sweep of American history over the past century, as told by the people who wrote the first draft.

This volume is a wonderful addition to the “Deadline Artists” family. May more siblings follow.

— Timothy R. Smith

smitht@washpost.com