A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
I took three important ideas from this esteemed journalist’s book concerning the books he’s written. One, his first editor, Alan Hathaway of Newsday, advised him: “Turn every page.” Don’t merely flip through a folder or skim a document. Overlook nothing. You may see patterns in the material, something which is unstated but apparent. Two, one’s goal as a writer is to compel a reader to see what you see or even feel what others feel. Three, slower is faster. Do a thorough job.
Caro divides his book into seven parts: Part I concerns his time as a newspaper writer. Part II, he shares how he wrote of Robert Moses in The Power Broker—how one man can accrue and use power. Part III, Caro goes into more detail about the forty-five million pieces of pages he “turned” to write The Power Broker. In Part IV, he writes concerning the importance of interviews, how important it is to get answers to questions, even if you must circle back as many as eleven times, as he did with Moses, when he asked him the most important question last. Part V explains how Caro develops what he calls “sense of place,” providing rich and telling details about each setting of his book. In Part VI, the author reveals how he researches and writes each of the first four books about President Lyndon B. Johnson, and includes a bit about the fifth and final one, yet to be published. And finally, in Part VII, Caro reprints an interview The Paris Review conducted in 2016.
In all, Working is an engaging and unique memoir, and I recommend it to any writer or reader who has an interest in the five or six topics listed above. The man is a pro.
NEXT TIME: My Journey of States-49 Wyoming