Leonard Downie Jr. spent 44 years at The Washington Post, rising from summer intern eventually to become executive editor. In All About the Story, he looks back at his long career in journalism, offering lots of fascinating behind-the-scenes accounts that illuminate how the Post pursued major stories, ranging from Watergate to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also examines key issues that have confronted and continue to confront editors and reporters in American newsrooms—among them, how to handle reporting on the private lives of public figures, and how to decide what stories would endanger national security. And he reflects on the challenging transition that’s still happening at the Post and other newspapers from what was a Golden Age of print journalism to the digital age.
Started in 2007, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column today leads the ever-growing pack of media watchdogs highlighting false public statements. In the age of Donald Trump, the reporters behind the column have been working overtime. In their book, they make a compelling case for Trump as the most mendacious president in U.S. history. Drawing on a database containing more than 19,000 fallacious statements by Trump since he took office, they examine some of the most frequent distortions and most dangerous deceptions. Their book, like their daily reporting, provides an essential resource for all of us trying to keep our own eyes on the truth and avoid being blinded by Trump’s total disregard for it.
Known for his well-researched works of nonfiction, Lawrence Wright applies his talent for expert detail and storytelling to a novel about a pandemic. The result is a medical thriller that, while written before the emergence of covid-19, contains lots of similarities with the current public health crisis. The End of October begins with the outbreak abroad of a mysterious, deadly disease and centers on an American microbiologist who races to understand and combat the spreading virus. To say the book is timely just doesn’t do justice to how eerily prophetic it is.