Prince of the City

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader August 10, 2020 Pete Hamill was not in great health the last few years of his life but when word came that he died last week at the age of 85, it was hard not to stop and take a moment to appreciate the passing of something bigger than...

A Hollow Venue

By Steve Oney New York July 29, 1996 The most telling news to come out of Atlanta during the days leading up to the opening ceremonies of the centennial Olympic Games had nothing to do with the erection of a 165-foot-tall statue of a Coca-Cola bottle—in a city of...

“May I Kiss You on the Forehead, Sam?”

By Jon Bradshaw New York December 29, 1975/January 5, 1976 It was practically dawn and the weather, he noted with particular pique, was diabolic. On mornings like these, he preferred to rise late. He liked to walk down to the Yale Club and play a little squash. He...

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,...

A Comedian of Guilt

By Albert Goldman Life Feb. 7, 1969 The publication of a book is not often a major event in American culture. Most of our classics, when they first appeared, met with disappointing receptions, and even the much-ballyhoed best-sellers of recent years have rarely cut a...

On Revision

By Nora Ephron From Nora Ephron Collected November, 1986 I have been asked to write something for a textbook that is meant to teach college students something about writing and revision. I am happy to do this because I believe in revision. I have also been asked to...

Swifty Lazar Is a Big Deal

By Jennifer Allen New York Magazine July 18, 1983 The beautiful lady and the reporter sit facing each other on wicker sofas in the lady’s small but elegant Los Angeles office. They are silent, sheepish, like schoolgirls who have been collared in the hall by a teacher...

Remembering Gil Schwartz (and Stanley Bing)

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader May 4, 2020 Let’s take a moment to celebrate the one and only Gil Schwartz who passed away a couple of days ago. Some of his grief-stricken pals were kind enough to offer some of their memories and we are the richer for it. Take it...

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...

Don’t Sweat the Technique

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader April 23, 2020 John Huston was thirty-five when he made his directorial debut with The Maltese Falcon. He was 81 when he directed his last movie, The Dead. Which begs the question—has any director had a better start and finish? When...

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...