Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking
Jessica Mitford was a member of one of England’s most legendary families (among her sisters were the novelist Nancy Mitford and the current Duchess of Devonshire) and one of the great muckraking journalists of modern times. Leaving England for America, she pursued a career as an investigative reporter and unrepentant gadfly, publicizing not only the misdeeds of, most famously, the funeral business (The American Way of Death, a bestseller) and the prison business (Kind and Usual Punishment), but also of writing schools and weight-loss programs. Mitford’s diligence, unfailing skepticism, and acid pen made her one of the great chroniclers of the mischief people get up to in the pursuit of profit and the name of good. Poison Penmanship collects seventeen of Mitford’s finest pieces—about everything from crummy spas to network-TV censorship—and fills them out with the story of how she got the scoop and, no less fascinating, how the story developed after publication. The book is a delight to read: few journalists have ever been as funny as Mitford, or as gifted at getting around in those dark, cobwebbed corners where modern America fashions its shiny promises. It’s also an unequaled and necessary manual of the fine art of investigative reporting.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - dougb56586 - LibraryThing
This is a collection of a journalist's essays originally published between 1957 and 1977. What sets them apart from and above many other such collections, are the author's postscripts appended to each ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - NewsieQ - LibraryThing
Jessica Mitford (1917-1996) was born in England, but made her mark as a modern-day muckraker in America. Poison Penmanship is a delightful anthology of some of her essays. She was relentless in ... Read full review