The Best American Essays, 2007
The Best American Essays, 2007

Series: Best American   

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Annotation: Collection of some of the best American essays by such authors as Peter Singer, Cynthia Ozick, Phillip Robertson, and others.
Catalog Number: #4572395
Format: Paperback
No other formats available
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2007
Pages: xxiv, 307 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-618-70927-4
ISBN 13: 978-0-618-70927-4
Dewey: 808
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Wallace fans and detractors alike will be pleased to know that, yes, as guest editor of the latest incarnation of this annual best-of-the-year essay collection, he has written a smart and thorny introduction replete with footnotes. And created a kick-ass anthology in keeping with his perception that as a society, "we are in a state of three-alarm emergency." Wallace believes things have gone wrong in part because we haven't been "paying attention and handling information in a competent grown-up way." He has, therefore, selected works of clarity and moral calculus writings that he calls "service essays" that address facts with "a special kind of integrity." Here, then, is Mark Danner's "Iraq: The War of the Imagination" and Elaine Scarry's "Rules of Engagement." George Gessert on torture and militarism. Garret Keizer on guns. Mark Greif on the sexualizing of children. Edward O. Wilson on mass extinctions. Wallace has also chosen Marilynne Robinson's essay on "personal holiness" and electrifying essays by Richard Rodriguez, Jo Anne Beard, Molly Peacock, and Cynthia Ozick to create the best of the "best of."
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ALA Booklist (10/1/07)
Reading Level: 9.0
Interest Level: 9+

The twenty-two essays in this powerful collection -- perhaps the most diverse in the entire series -- come from a wide variety of periodicals, ranging from n + 1 and PMS to the New Republic and The New Yorker, and showcase a remarkable range of forms. Read on for narrative -- in first and third person -- opinion, memoir, argument, the essay-review, confession, reportage, even a dispatch from Iraq. The philosopher Peter Singer makes a case for philanthropy; the poet Molly Peacock constructs a mosaic tribute to a little-known but remarkable eighteenth-century woman artist; the novelist Marilynne Robinson explores what has happened to holiness in contemporary Christianity; the essayist Richard Rodriguez wonders if California has anything left to say to America; and the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson attempts to find common ground with the evangelical community. In his introduction, David Foster Wallace makes the spirited case that "many of these essays are valuable simply as exhibits of what a first-rate artistic mind can make of particular fact-sets -- whether these involve the 17-kHz ring tones of some kids' cell phones, the language of movement as parsed by dogs, the near-infinity of ways to experience and describe an earthquake, the existential synecdoche of stagefright, or the revelation that most of what you've believed and revered turns out to be self-indulgent crap."

Werner / Jo Ann Beard
The freedom to offend / Ian Burma
Iraq: the war of the imagination / Mark Danner
Fathead's hard times / W.S. Di Piero
An orgy of power / George Gessert
What the dog saw / Malcom Gladwell
Afteroon of the sex children / Mark Greif
Operation Gomorrah / Marione Ingram
Loaded / Garret Keizer
Petrified / John Lahr
Name that tone / Louis Menand
Shakers / Daniel Orozco
Out from Xanadu / Cynthia Ozick
Passion flowers in winter / Molly Peacock
In the Mosque of Imam Ali / Phillip Robertson
Disappointment / Richard Rodriguez
Rules of engagement / Elaine Scarry
A carnivore's credo / Roger Scruton
What should a billionaire give--and what should you? / Peter Singer
Dragon slayers / Jerald Walker
Apocalypse now / Edward O. Wilson.

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