The Best American Magazine Writing 20124.5stars



The Most Important Ones

Edited by Sid Holt

Columbia University Press, 16.95,  544 pages

Journalism can be like a splash of cold water or palatable medicine with side effects like increased anxiety or depression. The antidote is necessary in a society and bigger world, which despite truth seekers and justice makers, has its failures and mistakes. The Best American Magazine Writing 2012, edited by Sid Holt with an introduction by Terry McDonell, does not pull a lot punches giving one the sad tidings of the day, but it does share some hopeful stories about success and crusaders with integrity.

“This book is a history of a complicated year, how we lived it, and how we thought about that, a run of pointed descriptions of who we were going in and who we became coming out.”

Many great writers and the amazing magazines they write for are presented in this “best of” anthology. One will find thought-provoking critical analysis from Liz Brody, the late Christopher Hitchens, William Zinsser, and others. The anthology is from writers and magazines that won a magazine writing award this year. One can catch up on the important news of last year. The reporting here, which in a number of cases feature story telling, is dense and not a fast or fun read. There is much about war, medicine, activism, crime, and politics. Critical journalism reminds us that there are people watching and looking out for the downtrodden; sometimes, they also need be ourselves.

Reviewed By Ryder Miller

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