Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Five top books on journalism

Toby Young is a British journalist and author of the memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

One of his five top books on journalism, as told to Alec Ash at The Browser:
Black Hawk Down
by Mark Bowden

As a journalist who rarely leaves my desk, I don’t get an opportunity to do much reportage – but I get a vicarious thrill from reading it. Some of my favourite journalism books are examples of sustained reporting about a single subject – The Studio by John Gregory Dunne, for instance, and American Ground by William Langewiesche – but I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a book of reportage more than Black Hawk Down.

What’s so great about it is that it describes a humiliating military defeat [the 1993 battle of Mogadishu in Somalia], and yet the American soldiers featured in its pages emerge as stone-cold heroes. It’s a familiar story – the lion-hearted fighting men let down by faulty equipment and incompetent generals. The Ridley Scott movie really doesn’t do it justice.
Read about the other books Young tagged at The Browser.

Also see Tom Rachman's top ten journalist's tales, Judith Paterson's list of the ten best books of social concern by journalists, Roger Mudd's five best books about journalism, and Scott Simon's five best journalism books.

--Marshal Zeringue