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Reporting at Wit's End: The Collected Essays of St. Clair McKelway

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Pollux writes:

The newly published Reporting at Wit’s End: Tales from The New Yorker collects the essays of New Yorker reporter St. Clair McKelway (1905-1980), who wrote for the magazine from the 1930s to 60s. At a hefty 620 pages, Reporting at Wit’s End is a substantial contribution to classical American journalism and New Yorker history.

McKelway’s pieces pulsated with the power of the personalities he profiled. McKelway wrote pieces on figures like Stanley Clifford Weyman (born Stephen Jacob Weinberg), a “dedicated imposter.” Weinberg, like many rogues and con men, tinkered with his name, posing as “Royal St. Cyr only when he wished to drum home to himself and other people the notion that he was a lieutenant in the French Navy, which he wasn’t.” In 1940, McKelway profiled and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who, “although he has never been shot at and has been beaten up only twice, he is always expecting to be attacked.”

With an introduction by Adam Gopnik, Reporting at Wit’s End is the best tribute (who needs another statue in a park?) and service that can be made to a writer of St. Clair McKelway’s caliber.

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