Review of “The New Journalism”

Michael Wood, New York Times, June 22, 1973.

The title suggests a long essay by Tom Wolfe, accompanied by samples of what the essay is about. What we get are three short Wolfe essays and a Wolfe appendix, adding up to some 49 pages, followed by 339 pages of essays and excerpts. A clear case of the nose wagging the dog. Well, wagging anyway. The dog seems fairly unperturbed. The book’s 23 pieces include predictable but attractive items like passages from Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” Mailer’s “The Armies of the Night,” Plimpton’s “Paper Lion,” Thompson’s “The Hell’s Angels” and McGinniss’s “The Selling of the President 1968”; like snatches of Wolfe himself. But then there is also Rex Reed on Ava Gardner, Michael Herr on Khesanh, Joan Didion on the Miller murder case in California, Joe Eszterhas on the Missouri killings of Charlie Simpson, Terry Southern on the Dixie National Baton Twirling Institute in Mississippi. The writing is remarkable, almost without exception, and if this is the New Journalism, one can hardly be against it…

New York Times