52 McGs.: The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York



10 thoughts on “52 McGs.: The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York Times Reporter Robert McG. Thomas

  1. Paul Secor Paul Secor says:

    Perhaps it's because I'm getting older but the first thing I turn to in the morning when I read The New York Times with the possible exception of the crossword puzzle is the obituary page Unfortunately no one writing obituaries for The Times today is the eual of Robert McG Thomas Jr Robert McG Thomas Jr was a master of writing obituaries and came to that specialty late in his newspaper career Thomas was the master of the hook I don't know if that's what it's called in the newspaper world but that's what I call it a lead sentence or two that would grab his readers and not let them stop reading until they'd finished reading the entire obituary ConsiderAnton Rosenberg a storied sometime artist and occasional musician who embodied the Greenwich Village hipster ideal of 1950's cool to such a laid back degree and with such determined detachment that he never amounted to much of anything died on feb 14 at a hospital near his home in Woodstock NYor The Rev Louis A Saunders who spent half a century as such a uietly dedicated minister missionary and religious official that he became known chiefly for a single instinctive act of Christian duty died on April 5 at his home in suburban Dallas He was 88 and the man who gave Lee Harvey Oswald a Christian burialOr if you want to read the obituary of Edgar Nollner who traveled by dog sled in 1925 across Alaska with a supply of serum to save the 1429 residents of Nome from the ravagages of diptheria while the nation followed through radio broadcasts and newspaper headlines you'll find it hereIf you want to read the obituary of Emil Sitka the favorite foil of the Three Stooges you'll find it hereAs the title implies there are 52 obituaries written by Robert McG Thomas Jr in this book so you can read one every week for a year or a few at a time or all at once as you choose However you read them you'll probably come back and reread them over timeOh I should mention that there are actually 53 obituaries in this book The 53rd is the obituary of Robert McG Thomas Jr as it appeared in The Times on January 8 2000 after his passing He didn't write it and it's not uite as good as any of the obituaries he wrote That's as it should beUpdate Rereading some of the pieces in this collection there are many good ones than I'd remembered I thought about how an obituary should be than a memorial to a person's life Ideally it should be a celebration of a life Even an average person which includes most of us in some sense or another has had moments and stories that deserve to be remembered celebrated and passed on Robert McG Thomas Jr knew this Most of the people he eulogized had a bright moment in their lives that perhaps the average person hasn't had but all of us have had some sort of special moment or story which should be celebratedWhile I was reading I thought about The Man Who Picked the Wildwood Flower a song that Merle Haggard recorded which touches on all of this


  2. Stephen Stephen says:

    I think Thomas pays a service that is often overlooked in our society memorial and legacy Obituaries are often cut and paste activities without any true essence of the person they are summarizing Their story should be told with the same gusto they had for life Thomas accomplishes this and it is why he was widely regarded and read


  3. Madeleine Madeleine says:

    This was a treat to read and I learned lots about the art of distilling an entire life into just a few hundred words Some tips I'll take straight from the introduction every lead was the subject's life in a genre that reuires cramming he never seems rushed beautifully alert to verbs wrote as if he'd never heard of an exclamation point let alone thought of using one and never condescends especially to the kind By far my favourite obit was for Francine Katzenbogen the Brooklyn born lottery millionaire who loved cats rather than was good for her She died of a chronic asthma condition worsened by allergic reactions to her many cats He writes about oddballs best but with a respectful tone that never flirts with mockeryLeads especially ones that deviated from form are stellar Like this one for Charles McCartneyYou take a fellow who looks like a goat travels around with goats eats with goats lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before people will be calling him the Goat Man Who wouldn't keep reading?He also masterfully includes little details that tell you so much about someone's personality without relying on adjectives Eg owned one dress or Mr Wanderone who once said he never picked up anything heavier than a silver dollar grew up with a fierce aversion to physical labor so much so that on their cross country trips his wife was expected to do all the driving carry all the luggage and even change the flat tires


  4. Trent Trent says:

    The only regrettable part of this book is that it is not the complete work of Robert McG Thomas Jr In the right hands an obituary can be a thing a beauty In the wrong hands an obituary can be an insult to a life lived Thomas Jr might be the best obituary writer I have ever had the pleasure of reading An odd compliment but not a hyperbolic one These are nor normal obituaries about normal people Yes there are some famous folks in this book but the majority a short but detailed looks at lives and people we would otherwise no nothing about This is as much a research book as it is a group of finely written obits


  5. Chelsea Chelsea says:

    Keep in mind that everybody has their own definition of “the best” and my definition and the author’s is not the same I was expectinghoping for humorous obituaries and there were several that were interesting educational and yes some had some funny parts But this is a collection of obituaries if notable people not necessarily funny writing Either way you will enjoy enough out of this collection that reading it is worth it


  6. Rosemary Rosemary says:

    I love reading an obituary and having to look up some of the words The people he wrote about were unusual or had done unusual things He had a way with words and wrote not just about the facts of a person's life but about their personality He managed to write clever and often funny obituaries


  7. Patricia Eichenlaub Patricia Eichenlaub says:

    The obituaries alternate between being exceedingly clever and insightful and a bit boring But which is which probably depends on the reader’s mood at the time of reading Hin Don’t readbthem all at once


  8. Laura Boudreau Laura Boudreau says:

    This is a great book I absentmindedly picked up at Re Books in Waterville ME A really enjoyable read I learned a lot about the famous and the infamous and the writing style is wonderfully honest and entertaining


  9. Sarah Sarah says:

    Inspiring


  10. Skostal Skostal says:

    OK so this is the first book that I've marked as read that I didn't finish This is a collection of 52 obituaries written by the New York Times' legendary obit writer Robert McG Thomas I wanted to like this book When I was a dedicated newspaper reader I scanned the obits every day looking for the ones with unanswered uestions hidden in the sparse facts or the few that let the subject's uirky character flourish At its best this book is a survey of 20th Century Americana tales of writers socialites magnates and inventors who brought us items once novel and now found in every household But his understated style never varies and after a few dozen you've had enough I wanted to be moved by Thomas's own obit; he died relatively young and was hailed in his former employer's pages by his peers But by the time I had read 40 or so they all seemed the same It is humbling to know we will all be reduced to 200 750 words if we get that What event in our lives will spark the writer what bon mot what eccentricity? We don't get to choose There is always a greater force an editor larger than ourselves ultimately in control of our destiny


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52 McGs.: The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York Times Reporter Robert McG. Thomas ❮Reading❯ ➽ 52 McGs.: The Best Obituaries from Legendary New York Times Reporter Robert McG. Thomas ➶ Author Robert McG. Thomas Jr. – Thomashillier.co.uk Among his devoted fans his pieces were known simply as McGs With a genius for illuminating that sometimes ephemeral apogee in people's lives when they prove capable of generating a brightly burning sp Among his devoted The Best eBook ☆ fans his pieces were known simply as McGs With a genius for illuminating that sometimes ephemeral apogee in people's lives when they prove capable of generating a brightly burning spark Columbia Journalism Review Robert McG Thomas Jr commemorated fascinating unconventional lives with signature style and witThe New York Times received countless letters over the years from readers moved to tears or laughter by a McG Eschewing traditionally famous subjects Thomas favored unsung heroes eccentrics and underachievers including Edward Lowe the inventor of Kitty Litter Cat Owner's Best Friend; Angelo Zuccotti 52 McGs.: ePUB ½ the bouncer at El Morocco Artist of the Velvet Rope; and Kay Halle a glamorous Cleveland department store heiress who received sixty four marriage proposals An Intimate of Century's Giants In one of his classic obituaries Thomas described Anton Rosenberg as McGs.: The Best Obituaries from PDF \ a storied sometime artist and occasional musician who embodied the Greenwich Village hipster ideal of 's cool to such a laid back degree and with such determined detachment that he never amounted to much of anything Thomas captured life's ironies and defining moments with elegance and a gift for making a sentence sing McGs.: The Best PDF/EPUB è He had an uncanny sense of the passion and personality that make each life uniue and the ability as Joseph Epstein wrote to look beyond the facts and the rigid formula of the obit to touch on a deeper truthCompiled by Chris Calhoun one of Thomas's most dedicated readers and with a fittingly sharp introduction from acclaimed novelist and critic Thomas Mallon McGs will win legions of new fans to the masterful writer who transformed the obituary into an art form.