100 inspiring books on journalism

What books (related to journalism) have impacted your life?

In early September, a journalist asked me this, and I named four of mine—

  • Svetlana Alexievich, Voices from Chernobyl: : The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster (Alexievich’s ability to give voice to the voiceless is such I have to carry tissues whenever I read her books.)
  • Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer (Malcolm’s book is the best I know on the complexities of journalists’ relation with sources (Hard to beat her opening!))
  • Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 (Thompson’s book on the 1972 election is crazy, raw, entertaining and thought-provoking, and a rougher version of what I suppose some would call literary non-fiction.)
  • Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (This I think is still the single best analytical treatment of the role of journalism in (Western) society – a classic almost a century after it was published.)

2019-09-27 13.15.08

I also asked people on Twitter for what books on journalism had impacted their lives, and got a lot of really interesting responses, I’m posting the first 100 recommendations I got below (sorry if I’ve missed some, it got very lively).

Just to be clear, I haven’t read all of these myself, and I don’t know whether I’d personally recommend them all, but it’s a great list and I hope others will find it inspiring – I’ve just finished Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff’s The Race Beat which was outstanding and I warmly recommend it (as Javier Moreno and others did to me), and have just started Jan Whitt’s Women in American Journalism.

The list is still very heavily male-dominated and overwhelmingly voices from the US and Europe, so very keen to see more suggestions for a broader range and more diverse voices. Can then update the list.

 

Non-fiction books including biographies, autobiographies, etc.

Zahra Hankir & Christiane Amanpour, Our Women On the Ground

Dahr Jamail, The End of Ice

Bernstein/Woodward, All the President’s Men

Alan Rusbridger, Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters

Joris Luyendijk, People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East

Hostwriter and CORRECTIV (publishers), Unbias the News: Why diversity matters for journalism

Jay Rosen, What Are Journalists For?

Katharine Graham, Personal History

Ed Snowden, Permanent Record

Tom Wolfe, The New Journalism

Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed

Joyce Carol Oates, On Boxing

Jeff Jarvis, Geeks Bearing Gifts: Imagining New Futures for News

David Carr, The Night of the Gun

Jan Whitt, Women in American Journalism

Phillip Meyer, Paper Route: FINDING MY WAY TO PRECISION JOURNALISM

Jay Hamilton, Democracy’s Detectives

Michael Schudson, Discovering the News

Joan Didion, Political Fictions

James W. Carey, Communication as Culture

Timothy Crouse, The Boys on the Bus

David Halberstam, The Powers that Be

Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer

Ernest Hemingway, By-line

Chris Horrie, Stick it Up Your Punter: The Uncut Story of the Sun Newspaper

Paul Starr, Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications

Robert E. Park, The National History of The Newspaper

Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker

Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff, The Race Beat

Ben Bradlee, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures

Jake Adelstein, Tokyo Vice

John Carey, The Faber Book of Reportage

George Packer, Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

D Q McInerny, Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking

Ed Lambeth, Committed Journalism: An Ethic for the Profession

Vasily Grossman, A Writer at War: Vasily Gossman with the Red Army 1941-1945

George Orwell, Essays

John W. Dean, Blind Ambition: The White House Years

Fintan O’Toole, Back at the Ranch (The Politics of Irish Beef)

Alan Brinkley, The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century

Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit

Bharat Anand, The Content Trap

Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

John Simpson, Despatches from the Barricades

A.J.  Liebling, The Press

Tim Bowden, One Crowded Hour: Noel Davis, Combat Cameraman, 1934-85

Edward Behr, Anyone Here Been Raped and Speaks English?

David Carr, The night of the gun

George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Andrew Marr, My Trade: A short history of British Journalism

Nicholas Coleridge, Paper Tigers: The latest, greatest newspaper tycoons and how the won the world

Harold Evans, Essential English and Pictures on a Page

Seymour Hersh, Reporter: A Memoir

Marvin Kalb, The Nixon Memo

Hanna Krall, Shielding the flame: Intimate Conversation with Dr.Marek Edelman, the Last Surviving Leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Robert Boynton, The New New Journalism

Dave Cullen, Columbine

Max du Preez, Palle Native: Memories of a Renegade Reporter

Sebastian Junger, War

Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air

Greg Marinovich, The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War

Hans Rosling, Factfulnesss: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Jon Swain, River of Time

Michael Herr, Dispatches

Antonio Rubio, El Origen del Gal: Guerra Sucia y Crimen de Estado

Marie Colvin, On the Front Line: the Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin

Maria Angelica Correa, A Ese Muchacho lo van a matar

John Pilger, Heroes

Oriana Fallaci, Interview with History and Conversations with Power

Markus Feldenkirchen, Die Schulz-Story

Ryan Holiday, Trust me, I’m lying

T S Satyan, Alive and Clicking

T J S George, Lessons in Journalism: The story of Pothan Joseph

Nils Ufer, Den nøgne journalist

Pete Hamill, A Drinking Life

Charlie LeDuff, Shitshow: The Country is Collapsing but the Ratings are Great

Chris Hedges, War is a force that gives us meaning

Willie Morris, North Toward Home

Jacques Pauw, The President’s Keepers

Paul Krassner, Impolite Interviews

Aman Sethi, A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi

John Hess, My Times: A Memoir of Dissent

Jorge Ramos, Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era

 

Essays, fiction and literary non-fiction (and borderline cases like Capote, some of Kapuscinski, Thompson)

Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Other

Truman Capote, In Cold Blood

Graham Greene, The Quiet American

Anton Chekhov, Sakhalin Island

Warren Ellis, Transmetropolitan

Evelyn Waugh, Scoop

Vasily Grossman, Life & Fate

Heinrich Boll, The lost Honour of Katharina Blum

Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff

Hunter S Thompson, The Rum Diary

Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

David Foster Wallace, Consider the lobster

Ryszard Kapuściński, Shah of Shahs

Jim Lynch, Truth Like the Sun

Eugenio Corti, The Red Horse

Erich Hackl, The Wedding in Auschwitz

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