Melancholy Baby

By Ron Rosenbaum Esquire October 1985 Let’s get sad. Let’s get very, very sad. Let’s get profoundly sad. Let’s talk about the saddest songs ever sung. In fact, let’s not just talk about them. Let’s get inside them. Let’s crawl inside the very chord structure of...

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.” ...

The Novel of the Century

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer December 6, 1999 O.K., I’ll play. You know, the Century-Slash-Millennium List Game. I admit I was reluctant to get into the whole Man -of-the-Century, Movie-of-the-Millennium enterprise. But a couple of things changed my mind:...

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...

The Corpse as Big as the Ritz

By Ron Rosenbaum Esquire August 1973 Sergeant Forrest Hinderliter of the Gila Bend (Arizona) Police had been up since two in the morning with a dead body and a shaky story. He’d found the body—a black man with a bullet hole in his back—lying on the floor in Apartment...

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...