The Tools of his Trade

By David Maraniss From Run to Daylight! Foreword to the 2014 edition For two summers while I was researching the biography When Pride Still Mattered, I lived in New York. Day after day I would venture out to Sheepshead Bay, where Vince Lombardi was born and reared; or...

Why Has the Fun Fled Fun City?

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice October 27, 1966 They all stood there waiting for the helicopter to come down. You had the feeling some of them wouldn’t have minded if it didn’t make it on its own power. Up in the sky was the mayor of New York, John V. Lindsay. He...

A Sportswriter Goes to War

By Alex Belth Introduction from Southwest Passage 2013 When he went off to cover the war in the Pacific in January 1943, John Lardner was twenty-nine years old and, thanks to his weekly column in Newsweek, already a major figure in sportswriting. Nothing at Madison...

Me and My Old Man

By Paul Hemphill From The Good Old Boys 1974 ICC is a-checkin on down the line, Well, I’m a little overweight And my log book’s way behind; Nothin’ bothers me tonight, I can dodge all the scales all right; Six days on the road And I’m a-gonna make it home...

Express Trane

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1976 Coltrane, a man of almost unbelievable gentleness made human to us lesser mortals by his very occasional rages. Coltrane, an authentically spiritual man, but not innocent of carnal imperatives. Or perhaps more accurately, a man, in his...

Bedtime Story

By Carlo Rotella From Playing in Time 2012 I was in a city far from home, working on a magazine story. I spent the day and evening going around asking questions, watching people do what they do, filling up a couple of pocket notebooks. Among other places, I visited...

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...

Parker

By Luc Sante For The University of Chicago Press 2009 The Parker novels by Richard Stark are a singularly long-lasting literary franchise, established in 1962 and pursued to the present, albeit with a 23-year hiatus in the middle. In other ways, too, they are a unique...

All of Life is Six to Five Against

By Donald Westlake From Writers on Directors 1999 Here are two things Stephen Frears said to me. The first was several months before The Grifters was made and, in fact, before either of us had signed on to do the project. We had just recently met, brought together by...

Redneck Lust

By Allison Glock GQ December 1995 I grew up in a house that had butter on the table and a pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge. The trees were filled with cicadas and Spanish moss, the heat was wet enough to bubble paint, and every young man strutted a worn white ring...

Know Your Way Home

By Richard Ben Cramer Esquire October 1993 In England, recently, I learned the real definition of parochial. A law in the time of Elizabeth I restricted you to your own parish. If you did leave, and ran into trouble elsewhere, you were literally whipped home: That is...

Farewell to the Duke

By Ralph J. Gleason Rolling Stone July 4, 1974   Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was three weeks and four days past his 75th birthday when he died last month in a New York City hospital. He had played his music in almost every part of the world except China and...