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For this singular collection, Joyce Carol Oates selected fifty-five unforgettable essays by the finest American writers of the twentieth century. Here is a sampling -- twelve unabridged essays -- featuring a wide variety of contemporary writers reading classics of the genre, along with authors reading their own work. Nothing less than a political, spiritual, and intensely personal record of America's tumultuous modern age, THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS OF THE CENTURY is "an outstanding, galvanic collection" (Entertainment Weekly).
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KAYE GIBBONS is the author of seven bestselling novels. Her first novel, Ellen Foster, was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. That novel, as well as A Virtuous Woman, was chosen for Oprah's Book Club. Gibbons lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
George Plimpton is the author of many books including Paper Lion. Founder and editor of the Paris Review, he is New York City's Honorary Commissioner of Fireworks.
JOYCE CAROL OATES is the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the winner of the National Book Award. Among her major works are We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls.From AudioFile:
[Editor's note: The following is a combined review with THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS OF THE CENTURY, Vol. 2.]--Some essays are entertaining, some improving. Fitzgerald's "The Crack Up" is both. However often you've read this story/manifesto, there's more to hear. George Plimpton's mellow, intoxicating voice makes the third listening as pleasurable as the first. Katha Pollitt's reading of Mary McCarthy's "Artists in Uniform" also hits the ear exactly right. You'll be pleased to hear Joyce Carol Oates read her introduction twice, if you listen to both volumes. John Randolph Jones's reading of William Manchester's "Okinawa, the Bloodiest Battle of All" is as thrilling as it is informative. Other offerings, however, seem much more inclined to improve the listener than to seduce him. "Of the Coming of John" by W.E.B. Du Bois is doubtless a significant historical document, but we can hear the tragic ending a long way off. These 23 essays mix the superb with the simply good. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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