An invaluable collection of early columns by one of New York’s sharpest minds In the 1960s, as the once-proud New York Herald Tribune spiraled into bankruptcy, the brightest light in its pages was an ebullient young columnist named Jimmy Breslin. While ordinary columnists wrote about politics, culture, or the economy, Breslin’s chief topics were the city and Breslin himself. He was chummy with cops, arsonists, and thieves, and told their stories with grace, wit, and lightning-quick prose. Whether covering the five boroughs, Vietnam, or the death of John F. Kennedy, Breslin managed to find great characters wherever he went. This collection includes some of Breslin’s most famous early writing. Here are the unforgettable New Yorkers Sam Silverware and Larry Lightfingers, the celebrated interview with President Kennedy’s gravedigger, and the classic “People I’m Not Talking To Next Year.” But the most important voice here is Breslin’s—as vibrant as ever. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Jimmy Breslin including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection. “The world that Jimmy Breslin covers in this clipbook of his columns is peopled by some of the funniest, looniest and saddest characters anywhere outside of a zoo.” —The New York Times “[Breslin is] hard working. Hard to like. But damn good most of the time. He epitomizes legwork.” —Gay Talese “Breslin’s touch is absolutely sure.” —TheWashington Post Book World
Jimmy Breslin (1928–2017) was a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and one of most prominent columnists in the United States. Born in Queens, New York, Breslin started working in New York City newsrooms in the 1940s. He began as a columnist in 1963, when he won national attention by covering John F. Kennedy’s assassination from the emergency room in the Dallas Hospital and, later, from the point of view of the President’s gravedigger at Arlington Cemetery. He ran for citywide office on a secessionist platform, befriended and was beaten up by mobsters, and received letters from the Son of Sam during the serial killer’s infamous 1977 spree. Known as one of the best-informed journalists in the city, Breslin’s years of insightful reporting won him a Pulitzer in 1986, awarded for “columns which consistently champion ordinary citizens.” Although he stopped writing his weekly column for Newsday in 2004, Breslin continued to write books, having produced nearly two dozen in his lifetime. He passed away in 2017 at the age of eighty-eight.