The Best-Kept Secret in American Journalism Is Murray Kempton

By David Owen Esquire March 1982 At the Democratic National Convention in 1980, a small brigade of young reporters dogged the footsteps of a man in a dark green suit. The man picked his way through the crush on the floor of the convention hall, pausing now and then to...

Invasion of the Asteroids

By David Owen Esquire February 1981 Men prefer four things to women: fast cars, guns, camping equipment “tested on the slopes of Everest,” and the World Series. This is a thought-provoking list and good as far as it goes. But lately there’s been a fifth contender: a...

Brando

By Mark Kram Esquire November 1989 How civilized the fame game was then, a timid, furtive glimpse for the observer, the observed cordoned off by a dreamlike distance of respect. Worship knew its place; so did greatness. It was caught sharply once by a young American...

The Old Man and the River

By Pete Dexter Esquire June 1981 Early morning, Seeley Lake, Montana. The sun has touched the lake, but the air is dead-still and cooler than the water, and the fog comes off the surface in curtains, hiding some of the Swan Range three miles to the east. And in doing...

L.T. and the Home Team

By John Ed Bradley Esquire December 1985 Out one night last summer in Williamsburg, Virginia—a night that started warm and breezy but quickly turned as hot and rank as old meat—D’Fellas quit talking about local trim for a minute and somebody started on God. Eric...

The Lynching of Leo Frank

By Steve Oney Esquire September 1985 Under the cover of the lengthening shadows of a sleepy August afternoon in 1915, five Model T’s loaded with armed men quietly departed the northwest Atlanta suburb of Marietta. The men had told their wives they were going fishing....

Love in the Time of Magic

By E. Jean Carroll Esquire April 1992 Thus spoke the whole of womankind. —Honoré de Balzac “I mean, this guy, I walked in his hotel room one day, and he had on a towel…. Am I lying?” says Miss Boyd. “This man, his body. He played for the Bulls. Oh! This man had...

St. Elmore’s Fire

By Mike Lupica Esquire April 1987 Here he is at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on a September baseball night hanging on to summer. He is getting ready to watch Jack Morris, the Tiger ace, go for win number nineteen against the Toronto Blue Jays. Elmore Leonard looks just...

The Homecoming of Willie Mays

By Murray Kempton Esquire October 1973 He was twenty when he began these voyagings, and he is supposed to have said then that this first trip around the league was like riding through a beautiful park and getting paid for it. Out of all those playgrounds, only Wrigley...

Styron’s Choices

By Philip Caputo Esquire December 1986 Twenty-four years ago, when I was a college junior with vague literary ambitions, a friend of mine and I were rummaging through a bookshop near the downtown campus of Chicago’s Loyola University. Weary of required...

Fore Play

By Richard Ben Cramer Esquire June 1987 I play golf, I recommend golf, I celebrate golf—for the exercise. For this I am roundly derided by friends. God knows what my enemies say. But they don’t understand. This exercise has nothing to do with getting winded, making...