The Best American Essays Of The Century Online

The Best American Essays of the Century4.14 · Rating details ·  778 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews

This singular collection is nothing less than a political, spiritual, and intensely personal record of America’s tumultuous modern age, as experienced by our foremost critics, commentators, activists, and artists. Joyce Carol Oates has collected a group of works that are both intimate and important, essays that move from personal experience to larger significance without sThis singular collection is nothing less than a political, spiritual, and intensely personal record of America’s tumultuous modern age, as experienced by our foremost critics, commentators, activists, and artists. Joyce Carol Oates has collected a group of works that are both intimate and important, essays that move from personal experience to larger significance without severing the connection between speaker and audience.
From Ernest Hemingway covering bullfights in Pamplona to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” these essays fit, in the words of Joyce Carol Oates, “into a kind of mobile mosaic suggest[ing] where we’ve come from, and who we are, and where we are going.” Among those whose work is included are Mark Twain, John Muir, T. S. Eliot, Richard Wright, Vladimir Nabokov, James Baldwin, Tom Wolfe, Susan Sontag, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Joan Didion, Cynthia Ozick, Saul Bellow, Stephen Jay Gould, Edward Hoagland, and Annie Dillard....more

Paperback, 624 pages

Published October 10th 2001 by Mariner Books (first published 2000)

[Editor's note: The following is a combined review with THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS OF THE CENTURY, Vol. 2.]--Some essays are entertaining, some improving. Fitzgerald's "The Crack Up" is both. However often you've read this story/manifesto, there's more to hear. George Plimpton's mellow, intoxicating voice makes the third listening as pleasurable as the first. Katha Pollitt's reading of Mary McCarthy's "Artists in Uniform" also hits the ear exactly right. You'll be pleased to hear Joyce Carol Oates read her introduction twice, if you listen to both volumes. John Randolph Jones's reading of William Manchester's "Okinawa, the Bloodiest Battle of All" is as thrilling as it is informative. Other offerings, however, seem much more inclined to improve the listener than to seduce him. "Of the Coming of John" by W.E.B. Du Bois is doubtless a significant historical document, but we can hear the tragic ending a long way off. These 23 essays mix the superb with the simply good. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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