The New New Journalism
Robert S. Boynton
Ted Conover
Richard Ben Cramer
Leon Dash
William Finnegan
Jonathan Harr
Alex Kotlowitz
Jon Krakauer
Jane Kramer
William Langewiesche
Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Michael Lewis
Susan Orlean
Richard Preston
Ron Rosenbaum
Eric Schlosser
Gay Talese
Calvin Trillin
Lawrence Weschler
Lawrence Wright
News and ReviewsRobert S. BoyntonAbout the BookRobert S. BoyntonContactRobert S. BoyntonBuy The New New JournalismRobert S. Boynton
by Robert S. Boynton


           Taken together, Eric Schlosser's three books--on fast food, the underground economy, and prisons--form a haunting triptych, "an alternative history of the United States," he says, that undercuts the optimism of the age of consumerist capitalism.
           Eric Schlosser was born in New York City on August 17, 1959. Schlosser attended the Dalton School and then studied history at Princeton University, where he edited the university humor magazine, wrote plays for the Triangle Club, and studied literary journalism with John McPhee (Richard Preston was in the same class).
           After Princeton, Schlosser spent three years studying British imperial history at Oriel College, Oxford. He was particularly interested in the moment at which, in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, the British and American empires intersected-- one falling apart and the other on the rise. Schlosser abandoned his plans for an academic career, but channeled his Oxford research into a play, Americans, which he wrote in 1985, and which was eventually performed in 2003.
           Schlosser floundered after Oxford, writing plays and a novel while living in Vermont. He returned to New York in 1992 to work as a script reader and story editor for Tribeca Productions. While there, Schlosser tried his hand at screenwriting, before pitching his first piece of journalism to The Atlantic Monthly.
           The magazine passed on his proposal to write a story about homosexuals in the military, but liked his writing and gave him another assignment: a story about the New York City bomb squad after the 1993 World Trade Center. "Reefer Madness," his second story for The Atlantic, gave him the confidence to leave Tribeca Productions and become a full-time journalist. A long, exhaustively reported Atlantic article about the migrant workforce that picked strawberries in California attracted the attention of Will Dana, an editor at Rolling Stone magazine, who asked Schlosser whether he'd be interested in using the same methods to examine the fastfood industry. After working on "Fast Food Nation" for a year, it was published in a three-part series in Rolling Stone in 1998 and published as a book three years later. Fast Food Nation's reviews put Schlosser in the company of Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and Ida Tarbell. "This is a fine piece of muckraking, alarming without being alarmist," wrote Rob Walker in The New York Times Book Review.
           Reefer Madness (2003), Schlosser's next book, wove three pieces together into a meditation on America's underground economy. Again, Schlosser's information was fascinating. Revenues from pornography match Hollywood domestic box office receipts and exceed sales of rock music. Twenty years after the "War on Drugs" began, marijuana may be worth as much as $19 billion a year, making it the nation's most lucrative cash crop (ahead of corn, wheat, and tobacco).
           America, Schlosser's 1985 play about the price of American empire, took on new meaning after September 11, 2001, and was performed in London in the fall of 2003.
           Schlosser now lives in northern California with his wife, who is a painter, and their two children. In November 2006, Richard Linklater directed the film version of the book. Schlosser wrote the screenplay and was the executive producer. He is working on a book about prisons.



BOOKS

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Penguin Press, 2013
buy
buy
Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food, Houghton Mifflin, 2006
buy
buy
Reefer Madness, Houghton Mifflin, 2003
buy
buy
Americans, Penguin Books, 2003
buy
buy
Fast Food Nation, Houghton Mifflin, 2001
buy
buy

ARTICLES

"Deconstructing “Dr. Strangelove”", The New Yorker, January 23, 2014

"Review of "The Chain," by Ted Genoways", The New York Times Book Review, November 23, 2014

"Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True", The New Yorker, January 23, 2014

"Still a Fast-Food Nation: Eric Schlosser Reflects on 10 Years Later", The Daily Beast, March 12, 2012

"Unsafe at Any Meal", The New York Times, July 24, 2010

"Penny Foolish", The New York Times, November 29, 2007

"The Freak Show", The Atlantic Monthly, November 2007

"Hog Hell", The Nation, September 11, 2006

"One Thing To Do About Food: A Forum", The Nation, September 11, 2006

"Order the Fish", Vanity Fair, November 2004

"Tyson’s Moral Anchor", The Nation, July 12, 2004

"Make Peace With Pot", The New York Times, April 26, 2004

"Fast Food Nation", The Ecologist, April 2004

"Commentary: Human Rights Are Dying on the Vine", The Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2004

"The Cow Jumped Over the U.S.D.A.", The New York Times, January 2, 2004

"Not All of Us Americans Are Evil", The Guardian, October 29, 2003

"The U.S. Bucks a Trend on Marijuana Laws", The New York Times, June 1, 2003

"A Reporter at Large: Empire of the Obscene", The New Yorker, March 10, 2003

"Bad Meat: The Scandal of our Food Safety System", The Nation, September 16, 2002

"Making It Work", Mother Jones, September/October 2002

"Hamburger with Those Fries? Buyers Beware", USA Today, July 10, 2002

"How to Make the Country’s Most Dangerous Job Safer", The Atlantic Monthly, January 2002

"The Chain Never Stops", Mother Jones, July/August 2001

"Why You’re at Risk from Contaminated Food", USA Today, June 28, 2001

"Weekend: The Bitter Truth About Fast Food", The Guardian, April 7, 2001

"The Taking of the Presidency 2000: How the Republicans Lost the Vote and Bullied their Way to Victory in Florida", Rolling Stone, February 1, 2001

"Why McDonald’s Fries Taste So Good", The Atlantic Monthly, January 2001

"The Politics of Pot: A Government in Denial", Rolling Stone, March 4, 1999

"The Prison-Industrial Complex", The Atlantic Monthly, December 1998

"Fast Food Nation, Part Two: Meat and Potatoes", Rolling Stone, November 26, 1998

"Saturday Night at the Hacienda", The Atlantic Monthly, October 1998

"Fast Food Nation, Part One: The True Cost of America’s Diet", Rolling Stone, September 3, 1998

"A Grief Like No Other", The Atlantic Monthly, September 1997

"More Reefer Madness", The Atlantic Monthly, April 1997

"Talk of the Town: America Busted", The New Yorker, February 24, 1997

"The Bill Gates of Porn", U.S. News & World Report, February 10, 1997

"The Business of Pornography", U.S. News & World Report, February 10, 1997

"Talk of the Town: It's In the Mail", The New Yorker, January 27, 1997

"In the Strawberry Fields", The Atlantic Monthly, November 1995

"Marijuana and the Law", The Atlantic Monthly, September 1994

"Reefer Madness", San Francisco Chronicle, August 28, 1994

"Reefer Madness: Marijuana Has Not Been De Facto Legalized, and the War on Drugs Is Not Just About Cocaine and Heroin", The Atlantic Monthly, August 1994

"The Bomb Squad: A Visit with the Members of a Police Unit Whose Work Load May Be Growing", The Atlantic Monthly, January 1994



Interviews and Reviews

“Market Madness,” The Paula Gordon Show, April 19, 2004

Reefer Madness: Eric Schlosser,” USAToday.com, June 11, 2003

“Reefer Madness,” Weekend Edition, NPR, May 25, 2003

Kamiya, Gary, “Sex, Drugs and Cheap Vegetables,” Salon, May 15, 2003

Mieszkowski, Katharine, “Notes from the Underground,” Salon, May 15, 2003

Eric Schlosser’s interview for “Modern Meat,” Frontline, April 2002

Smith, Clay, “Eric Schlosser at BookPeople,” The Austin Chronicle, March 15, 2002

Welch, Dave, “Eric Schlosser Knows What You’re Eating,” Powells.com, January 23, 2002

Grossman, Elizabeth, “Un-Happy Meal: A Review of Fast Food Nation,” Grist Magazine, August 10, 2001

“Meatpacking,” All Things Considered, NPR, July 13, 2001

“Interview with Eric Schlosser,” Foreign Correspondent, ABC (Australia), June 20, 2001

“Dark Side of Fast Food,” Morning Edition, NPR, March 12, 2001

Russo, Maria, “Unhappy Meals,” Salon, February 8, 2001

Mieszkowski, Katharine, “Would you like ground spinal cord with that?,”, Salon.com, February 8, 2001

Pollitt, Katha and Marjorie Williams, “Fast Food Nation,” Slate, Feb 7, 2001

“Journalist Eric Schlosser,” Fresh Air, NPR, January 22, 2001

“Audio Interview: Eric Schlosser,” New York Times on the Web, January 18, 2001

"Unhappy Meals" Interview, The Atlantic Monthly, December 2000



© Robert S. Boynton