How the “genial Bavarian” version of Adolf Hitler became a global media celebrity, “a plain-living gentleman with a soft spot for dogs and children.”
A profile of Edna Buchanan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter for the Miami Herald during its heyday.
A profile of Jill Abramson from her first weeks as executive editor of The New York Times.
On Silvio Berlusconi’s hedonism.
Berlusconi is Italy’s waning Hugh Hefner, alternately reviled and admired for his loyalty to his own appetites—except that he’s supposed to be running the country.
A media firestorm circles around a lucky amateur magician.
"By now, the actual doing of the spellthe Clean Castingfelt like a weird dream that Peter had concocted after too many drinks. The more people made a fuss about it, the more he felt like he’d made the whole thing up. But he could still picture it. He’d gotten one of the stone spellcasting bowls they sold on late-night cable TV, and little baggies of all the ingredients, with rejected prog rock band names like Prudenceroot or Womanheart, and sprinkled pinches of them in, while chanting the nonsense syllables and thinking of his desired aim."
A husband is wrongfully credited for his wife's heroic act.
"Immediately, Ron was sick, wishing that he was in the water and not her. But the shock of it all had scrambled his mind and it was confusion that held him, pretty much taking the wind out of him. He couldn’t get moving. Joy was the better swimmer, anybody would say so. Watching her flailing about out there with the old woman was painful. Still Joy’s strong, a fighter, she’ll be okay, he kept telling himself. And finally she was. The water got still out there and she had control. She was moving toward the shore, dog paddling, kicking water up behind, tugging the old woman along. Christ, by the hair, he ascertained when they got closer."
A wounded soldier is groomed for his media appearances in this setpiece from Abrams' satirical novel.
"Kyle Pilley was one of the best moneymakers the division had seen in the past six months and Harkleroad was practically piddling his pants with glee at the thought of all the goodwill his story would buy them in the mainstream media. He was already laying plans for Pilley to be interviewed, via remote satellite, by the Big Three morning-breakfast news shows (Good Morning America was on board, Today and CBS This Morning were teetering on the brink of a yes), not to mention features in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and, if Harkleroad was really, really lucky, Time and/or Newsweek. Yes, Kyle Pilley was the best thing to happen to Lieutenant Colonel Eustace Harkleroad and the rest of the Shamrock Division since they’d entered Iraq."
“If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it’s probably because at some level you find “reality” a bit of a disappointment.”