Gay Talese is a journalist and international best-selling author whose works include The Bridge, The Kingdom and the Power, Honor Thy Father, Thy Neighbors Wife, and Unto the Sons.
From his Q & A with David Ulin of Jacket Copy about Talese's book, The Silent Season of a Hero:
[Jacket Copy]: You were sports editor of the University of Alabama student paper, then wrote for the New York Times. But your real breakthrough came with Esquire.--Marshal Zeringue
GT: In 1960, I did my first piece for Esquire. Then in 1963, there was a big newspaper strike, and that's where I discovered freedom. Prior to that, I didn't have time to research, and moreover, working for a daily paper, I couldn't travel. I couldn’t go far.
So Esquire was a big thing for me because I had space, but the strike was even bigger. For the first time, I had a sense of what it was like to be a freelance, where I could go out of town and didn't have to be back Sunday night in time for Monday work. I had written a little book called "The Bridge," about the building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but that was right here. I didn't have to go anywhere. But when I started traveling, during the strike, I went to London to write about Peter O'Toole. It was a big thing, to go to London on expenses.
JC: Perhaps your two most iconic Esquire pieces were about Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra, who, like you, were sons of Italian immigrants.
GT: Yes, but to what degree did I have, by being a son of Italian immigrants myself, an in with these guys? I was not respectfully welcomed by DiMaggio, that's for sure. And the other guy...[read on]