Tales from the Cancer Cure Underground

By Ron Rosenbaum New West November, 1980 …terrible apprehensions were among the people. —Daniel Defoe A Journal of the Plague Year The captain rapped on the door of my hotel room promptly at 6 a.m. He was eager to get this expedition under way. He had a decision to...

All Power, No Lunch

By Ron Rosenbaum Manhattan Inc. November, 1984 “That’s Barbara Walters over there,” Roy Cohn tells me, pointing helpfully to the other corner table along the front wall of Le Cirque. The second-best corner table. Roy’s got the best, the one with the wide-angle view of...

Kim Philby and the Age of Paranoia

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Times Magazine July 10, 1994 The Heart of the Matter The presence of the Philby papers in London was still a closely guarded secret when I stumbled on them through an inadvertent slip by Graham Greene’s nephew. I’d found him, the nephew,...

The Devil in Long Island

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Times Magazine August 22, 1993 “He wondered every once in a while what life would be like without a second story and how it was people managed to get along in ranch-style or split-level houses without running amok once a year or so.” ...

Shakespeare in Rewrite

By Ron Rosenbaum The New Yorker May 13, 2002 In 1997, when Harold Jenkins, the editor of the Arden “Hamlet,” a leading scholarly edition of Shakespeare’s play, went to see Kenneth Branagh’s film version of “Hamlet,” he was both excited and...

The Essential Ron Rosenbaum: Part One

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 20, 2020 Ron Rosenbaum is in the pantheon of great non-fiction writers alongside Wolfe, Didion, Trillin, Talese, and Thompson. He’s been a newspaper columnist, a virtuoso magazine feature and profile writer, and author of...

Dylan Brings It Home: Memoir Is a Ballad to the Beat Village

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer October 14, 2004 Thaddeus Stevens? Who knew? One of the least-understood of Dylan mysteries has to do with influences: His music seems to come from everywhere, and from nowhere but him. You can listen to endless droning folk...

Thriller of the Century: The Third Man

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer January 17, 2000 Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I was just getting started. I’ve got more awards to bestow for Bests of the Century. I was just warming up last month when I named Pale Fire Best English Language Novel of the...

The Worst Pop Singer Ever

By Ron Rosenbaum Slate January 23, 2009 This may seem an odd moment to bring up the subject of Billy Joel. But the recent death of the painter Andrew Wyeth revived a long-standing debate over whether his art is respectable or merely sentimental schlock. (Say it: good...

The Shadow of the Mole

By Ron Rosenbaum Harper’s October 1983 The big mole. The American Philby. Is he still among us, still a trusted figure operating at the highest levels of government, still burrowing ever deeper into our most sensitive secrets, as embittered exiles from our espionage...

The Method and Mystique of Jack Nicholson

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Times Magazine July 13, 1986 Jack Nichols is singing “Three Blind Mice” for his visitor. Actually, singing might be the wrong word for the eerie droning intonations he’s producing; it sounds more like ritual chanting. Nicholson is...

Shakepeare’s Badass Quartet

By Ron Rosenbaum The Chronicle of Higher Learning February 7, 2016 Have you noticed that every few years a controversy arises over a claim that an old portrait found in someone’s attic is the true face of William Shakespeare? Most recently the British...