The Best American Magazine Writing 2008

The American Society of Magazine Editors, Jacob Weisberg

Columbia University Press

The Best American Magazine Writing 2008

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Pub Date: November 2008

ISBN: 9780231147149

568 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $16.95

The Best American Magazine Writing 2008

The American Society of Magazine Editors, Jacob Weisberg

Columbia University Press

The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 is an essential guide to the year's most entertaining, politically charged, and sophisticated essays. With pieces first published in The Nation, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker, among other leading publications, this anthology illuminates the most compelling issues of the past year and points to the topics that will concern us in the next. Chosen from among the winners and finalists of the 2008 National Magazine Awards, these articles span an eclectic range, from a chilling account of the CIA's secret interrogation program to a humorous look at the absurdities of modern medicine, from a scathing critique of America's activities in Iraq to an acid takedown of snark culture.

The anthology also includes Matthew Scully's fascinating peek inside the making of the George W. Bush presidency; Walter Kirn's surprising report on the mental effects of multitasking; Steve Oney's investigation into the unforeseen casualties of the Iraq War; Christopher Hitchens's frank assessment of the relationship between illicit sex and politics; Matt Taibbi's award-winning profile of Barack Obama; Peter Hessler's tour of China's instant cities; Caitlin Flanagan's flirtation with the online escapades of minors; Kurt Andersen's meditation on American greed; and Evan Wright's absorbing account of Hollywood's oddest comeback. From one girl's escape from Burundi to an exposé of American coal mining, The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 showcases the unparalleled work of our greatest writers and critics.

If this anthology were a magazine, everybody would want to subscribe.

Publishers Weekly

Another exemplary collection of the finest magazine writing in the United States.... A brilliant compilation.


Diverse, brainy, and provocative.

The Sacramento Bee, The Sacramento Bee

As always, this collection offers readers the opportunity to catch up on the best magazine writing they may have missed.


Balanced, comprehensive, thought-provoking, involving, and well-crafted.

Library Journal

This volume stands with the best... the compulsive readability of a good novel, but the immediacy and moral power of good journalism.

Irish Times

Consistent excellence distinguishes this annual series... Significance and relevance delivered by way of superlative prose and keen journalistic investigation.

Kirkus Reviews

A rich showcase.

The Sydney Morning Herald

One exceptional read after another... this collection redeems the honor of print and its conscientious attention to accountability, depth and excellence.

Carl Sessions Stepp, American Jorunalism Review

Absolutely crammed with jaw-dropping features that will make you laugh, piss you off and push you to tears. A fantastic compilation.

The Sun-Herald
Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief, Slate
Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief, Glamour and Immediate Past President of ASME

1. Everybody Sucks
Vanessa Grigoriadis
New York
Finalist—Feature Writing

2. China's Instant Cities
Peter Hessler
National Geographic

3. Present at the Creation
Matthew Scully
The Atlantic
Finalist—Profile Writing

4. The Black Sites
Jane Mayer
The New Yorker

5. Specialist Town Takes His Case to Washington
Joshua Kors
The Nation
Winner—Public Interest

6. City of Fear
William Langewiesche
Vanity Fair

7. "You Have Thousands of Angels Around You"
Paige Williams
Winner—Feature Writing

8. Obama's Moment
Matt Taibbi
Rolling Stone
Winner—Columns and Commentary

9. Out in the Cold
Mike Kessler
5280: Denver's Mile-High Magazine
Finalist—Public Interest

10. Brouhahaha
Hendrik Hertzberg
The New Yorker
Finalist—Columns and Commentary

11. Pat Dollard's War on Hollywood
Evan Wright
Vanity Fair
Winner—Profile Writing

12. The Autumn of the Multitaskers
Walter Kirn
The Atlantic

13. Betrayed
George Packer
The New Yorker
Finalist—Public Interest

14. Babes in the Woods
Caitlin Flanagan
The Atlantic
Winner—Reviews and Criticism

15. Underworld
Jeanne Marie Laskas
Finalist—Feature Writing

16. I Am Joe's Prostate
Thomas E. Kennedy
New Letters

17. American Roulette
Kurt Andersen
New York
Finalist—Columns and Commentary

18. Casualties of War
Steve Oney
Los Angeles
Finalist—Profile Writing

19. So Many Men's Rooms, So Little Time
Christopher Hitchens
Finalist—Columns and Commentary

20. Don't Cry For Me, Iwo Jima
Tom Carson
Finalist—Reviews and Criticism

2008 National Magazine Award Finalists
Judges, 2008
National Magazine Award Winners, 1966–2008
ASME Board of Directors, 2007–2008
List of Contributors

Web Features:Contributors Jeanne Marie Laskas and Vanessa Grigoriadis on the "Leonard Lopate" show.