Gene Weingarten: One Day

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Gene Weingarten: One Day

Post by Ricordanza » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:15 am

The subtitle is descriptive: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America. Essentially, this book is a stunt. But Gene Weingarten freely admits in his Introduction that he likes stunts “particularly if they can illuminate unexpected truths.” His best known stunt, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, involved violinist Joshua Bell posing as a subway busker. I'm sure that many CMG members are familiar with this story from the Washington Post. If you haven't read it, check it out.

For this book, Weingarten arranged for a date to be picked, literally, out of a hat. He then set out on a six-year (!) project to research and write about what happened on Sunday, December 28, 1986. He notes that a Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day is known by journalists as a notoriously slow news day in a notoriously slow news week. Nevertheless, the result is a series of vignettes that are often fascinating, sometimes moving, and always engaging. In describing these events, Weingarten tells us both the back story and, shall we say, the front story, that is, what was the aftermath for the individual(s) involved. Weingarten's lively writing style makes the book a pleasure to read. I guarantee that after reading each chapter, you will be eager to move on to the next (true) story. And perhaps, like me, you’ll be a little sad when the book ends and there are no more stories to read.

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