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

           As a child growing up in sleepy Bay Shore, Long Island, Ron Rosenbaum devoured Hardy Boy mysteries. He was enamored of the brothers' lives--packed as they were with skullduggery and storybook endings--and vowed that he, too, would one day solve mysteries.
           A self-described "buff buff," an "investigator of investigations," Rosenbaum's pieces often take the form of a quest, our protagonist investigating the story of the story, filled with the twists and turns--false steps, dead ends, red herrings-- he experienced along the way. The mysteries he writes about include such weighty questions as the source of Hitler's evil and the true story of the Kennedy assassination.
           Ron Rosenbaum was born in Manhattan on November 27, 1946. He was graduated from Yale University in 1968 and won a Carnegie Fellowship to attend their graduate program in English Literature. Yale provided Rosenbaum the critical scholarly skills (close reading, a sensitivity to ambiguity) he would later put to good use in his journalism.
           Rosenbaum's first jobs in journalism were covering the 1968 Democratic convention for the Suffolk Sun, and then as an assistant editor at the Fire Island News. His writing attracted the attention of Voice writer Nat Hentoff and of Rhoda Wolf, who recommended him to her husband Dan Wolf, the editor of The Village Voice. Rosenbaum resigned from the Voice in 1975 when it was purchased by New York magazine.
           Rosenbaum continued writing for Esquire and began writing for Harper's and for MORE, the journalism review of which he was executive editor. A collection of his pieces from this period, Rebirth of the Salesman: Tales of the Song & Dance 70's, was published in 1979.
           In 1984, Rosenbaum began writing for the newly founded Manhattan, inc., a monthly New York magazine that chronicled the excesses of the eighties. Rosenbaum was initially hesitant to join the magazine (after all, his usual beat was obsessive outsiders) but was persuaded by editor Jane Amsterdam. His Manhattan, inc. pieces were collected in Manhattan Passions: True Tales of Power, Wealth, and Excess (1987).
           Rosenbaum quit Manhattan, inc. in 1987, and spent the next few years writing for Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. He started writing, "The Edgy Enthusiast," a weekly column for The New York Observer, and continued work on a decade-long project about Adolf Hitler.
           Explaining Hitler (1998) is Rosenbaum's most ambitious book so far. In it, he admits that he admits that he thought, like many of the Hitler explainers, that if one could only find an essential clue (the "lost safe-deposit box"), the mystery of Hitler's evil might be solved. He eventually realized that the search itself--the investigation of the investigators--was a more engaging story. Rosenbaum uses these encounters as a vehicle for his own ruminations on Hitler, and on the nature of evil itself.
           For his next book, Rosenbaum turned the question he poses of Hitler--Was he an "exceptional" figure in history--to Shakespeare, another figure who has long fascinated him. He's spent the past five years with Shakespeare scholars and directors, exploring the questions they pursue. Ron Rosenbaum's investigation of the investigators continues.


How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III, Simon & Schuster, April 2011
Rescuing Evil: What We Lose, Kindle Single
The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups, Random House, 2006
Those Who Forget the Past: The Question of Anti-Semitism, Random House, 2004
The Secret Parts of Fortune, Random House, 2000
Explaining Hitler, Random House, 1998
Travels with Dr. Death and Other Unusual Investigations, Viking, 1991
Manhattan Passions: True Tales of Power, Wealth, and Excess, Beech Tree Books, 1987
Rebirth of the Salesman: Tales of the Song & Dance 70s, Dell, 1979
Murder at Elaine’s: A Satire, Stonehill, 1978


"Hidden Agendas On the timeless fascination with scandal and lessons from a career covering tabloid news.", Lapham's Quarterly, Spring 2020

"Unmasking the Spanish ‘Impostor’ Who Lied About Surviving the Nazis", The New York Times Book Review, October 3, 2018

"Elie Wiesel’s Secret: A little-known Yiddish manuscript upends our idea of the secular saint of human suffering", Tablet, September 29, 2017

"Deeper Than Deep David Reich’s genetics lab unveils our prehistoric past.", Lapham's Quarterly, August 23, 2017

"Shakepeare’s Badass Quartet", The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 17, 2016

"The Radical Paradox of Martin Luther King’s Devotion to Nonviolence", Smithsonian, January 2015

"Anthony Bourdain’s Theory on the Foodie Revolution", Smithsonian, July 2014

"Peter Matthiessen's Lifelong Quest for Peace", Smithsonian, May, 2014

"Salinger, the Swamis, and the Secrets", Slate, June 27, 2013

"A Lox on Your House: How Smoked Salmon Sold Its Soul and Lost Its Flavor ", The New Republic, January 29, 2013

"Martin Amis Contemplates Evil ", Smithsonian, September 2012

"Why LBJ Should be Ranked Alongside Lincoln", Smithsonian, Ma 2012

"The Naked Truth", The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2012

"Richard Clarke on Who Wa Behind the Stuxnet Attack", Smithsonian, April 2012

"Errol Morris: the Thinking Man's Detective", Smithsonian, March 2012

"Nuclear Options", Tablet, February 22, 2011

"Jeffrey Sachs, Internatioal Man of Mystery", Portfolio, May 2009

"The Worst Pop Singer Ever", Slate, January 23, 2009

"The Return of the Magic Bullet: Two new JFK books clash over conspiracy theory", Slate, June 1, 2007

"How To Trick an Online Scammer Into Carving a Computer Out of Wood", The Atlantic Monthly, June 2007

"Giving Death a Face", The New York Times Book Review, September 24, 2006

"Dylan Brings It Home: Memoir Is a Ballad to the Beat Village", The New York Observer, October 14, 2004

"We Miss Mike Kelly", The New York Observer, April 5, 2004

"Corrupt Buffoon or Joyous Liberator? Kevin Kline Wades into the Falstaff Wars", New York Times, November 9, 2003

"Seinfeld's Dumb Porsche-Haus", The New York Observer, October 13, 2003

"The Quality of Mercy in Henry V", The Shakespeare Newsletter, Summer 2003

"Bob Dylan Undone", The New York Observer, July 28, 2003

"Notes on Dude", The New York Observer, July 17, 2003

"The Crucial First Clue to Henry V", New York Times, June 29, 2003

"The F.B.I.’s Agent Provocateur", Vanity Fair, April 1993

"Sex Week at Yale", The Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2003

"My Love Affair With the City", The New York Observer, September 16, 2002

"Literary Sleuth Absolves Bard of Bad Poem", The New York Observer, June 24, 2002

"Shakespeare in Rewrite", The New Yorker, May 13, 2002

""Second Holocaust", Roth's Invention Not Necessarily Novelistic", The New York Observer, April 15, 2002

"Mirroring Evil? No Mirroring Art Theory", The New York Observer, March 18, 2002

"Degrees of Evil", The Atlantic Monthly, February 2002

"Where Was the Values Crowd When Dr. King Needed Them?", The New York Observer, January 28, 2002

"Farewell Mr. Sweet-Eyes's: Stumpy's Loss and His Legacy", The New York Observer, July 30, 2001

"At Skull and Bones, Bush's Secret Club...", The New York Observer, April 20, 2001

"Gielgud, Welles, Baxter: Call Down the Corridors of Time", The New York Observer, October 9, 2000

"The Play’s The Thing", New York Times Book Review, August 6, 2000

"Thriller of the Century: ", The New York Observer, January 17, 2000

"Keats and the Supermodels: The Truth About Beauty", The New York Observer, October 25, 1999

"Chaplin and Benigni: The Arrogance of Clowns", The New York Observer, April 19, 1999

"The Niceness Crisis: Greg, Meg, Nora and Me", The New York Observer, December 28, 1998

"I.B. Singer’s Shadows: Footnotes to Hitler", The New York Observer, March 23, 1998

"The Return of Andy Kaufman", Esquire, March 1998

"Our Least-Known Great Novelist: Charles Portis and the Locked Trunk Secret", Esquire, January 1998

"Much Ado about “Nothing” in Two New Translations of Genesis", The New York Observer, December 15, 1997

"The Pissing Contest: Oliver Stone Versus Quentin Tarantino", Esquire, December 1997

"In the Nabokov Archives", The New York Observer, November 24, 1997

"Hart Crane’s Hieroglyphs: The Unmentionable Truth", The New York Observer, November 3, 1997

"Floored by Dickens and Dombey", The New York Observer, June 2, 1997

"The Man in the Glass House", Esquire, June 1997

"Victims of the Dance", The New York Observer, January 27, 1997

"Dr. Borges and Dr. Ron Solve the Problem of Memory and Regret", The New York Observer, September 9, 1996

"A (Modest) Proposal to Rosanne Cash", The New York Observer, July 1, 1996

"The Beautiful and the Damned", Esquire, March 1, 1996

"Mr. Bill’s House of Horror", The New York Observer, December 4, 1995

"Among the Believers", The New York Times Magazine, September 24, 1995

"Evil’s Back", June 4, 1995, The New York Times Magazine

"The Revolt of the Basketball Liberals", Esquire, June 1, 1995

"Explaining Hitler", The New Yorker, May 1, 1995

"The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal", The New York Times Magazine, January 15, 1995

"Kim Philby and the Age of Paranoia", The New York Times Magazine, July 10, 1994

"The Devil in Long Island", The New York Times Magazine, August 22, 1993

"Riddle of the Scrolls", Vanity Fair, November 1992

"Return of the Wanderer", Vanity Fair, June 1992

"The Most Hated Lawyer in America", Vanity Fair, March 1992

"The Strange Death of Danny Casolaro", Vanity Fair, December 1991

"The Ballad of Willie Nelson", Vanity Fair, November 1991

"Angel of Death", Vanity Fair, May 1991

"Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Hoax", Vanity Fair, September 1990

"Travels With Dr. Death", Vanity Fair, May 1990

"The General and the Blond Ghost", Vanity Fair, January 1990

"Too Young to Die?", The New York Times Magazine, March 12, 1989

"Primal Stone: The War Cry of Director Oliver Stone, Hollywood's Angriest Man", Vanity Fair, January 1989

"The Rise of Big Brucie", Vanity Fair, October 1987

"Connoisseur of Scoundrels: Columnist Murray Kempton is one of this city’s most underappreciated assets", Manhattan, inc, May 1987

"The Wrong Dream", Manhattan, inc, April 1987

"Crack Murder", The New York Times Magazine, February 15, 1987

"Honest, Abe: The man who brought you magnetic-closing refrigerator doors, the urban open-air parking garage, and the antiwar movement speaks his mind, sort of", Manhattan, inc, December 1986

"Summer Jobs", Rolling Stone, July 17–31, 1986

"The Great Gatsby of Wall Street: Why Fred Joseph of Drexel drives old corporate America crazy", Manhattan, inc, August 1986

"The Method and Mystique of Jack Nicholson", The New York Times Magazine, July 13, 1986

"Meet Felix and Liz Rohatyn: Society Dissidents", Manhattan, inc, April 1986

"Disorganized Crime: Lames La Rossa defends the late Paul Castellano", Manhattan, inc, February 1986

"The Frantic Screaming of the Rich and Famous: Lunch with nouveau journalist Robin Leach", Manhattan, inc, January 1986

"Who puts the words in the President’s mouth?", Esquire, December 1985

"What She Did for Love: And other tales of hard-boiled corporate espionage", Manhattan, inc, December 1985

"Trump: The Ultimate Deal", Manhattan, inc, November 1985

"Melancholy Baby", Esquire, October 1985

"Melancholy Baby", Esquire, October 1, 1985

"The Passions of Mario Cuomo", Manhattan, inc, September 1985

"The Sandinista in the Wine Cellar: Investigative lunching with Malcolm Forbes", Manhattan, inc, August 1985

"The Beautiful Visitor: In which a superstar makes an appearance. And a disappearance", Manhattan, inc., July 1985

"Battle Tales from Black Rock: A breakfast briefing from CBS’s Van Gordon Sauter", Manhattan, inc., June 1985

"Restaurant Sadness: A working lunch with Bryan Miller, the new Times restaurant critic", Manhattan, inc, May 1985

"Chiat’s Day: Will one bad Apple ad spoil the whole lunch?", Manhattan, inc, April 1985

"What Does John Diebold Actually Do?: The Big Question is popped over lunch at Lutèce", Manhattan, inc, March 1985

"The Fast Tycoons: The producers of the high-grossing Beverly Hills Cop have a high-concept lunch at the Russian Tea Room", Manhattan, inc, February 1985

"The Hunger: Feeding time in the financial district with Ike Sorkin", Manhattan, inc, January 1985

"Michael Wigler’s War Against Cancer", Esquire, December 1984

"Grill Talk: Liz Smith and Helen Gurley Brown at the Four Seasons", Manhattan, inc, December 1984

"All Power, No Lunch: Roy Cohn at Le Cirque", Manhattan, inc, November 1984

"Gentlemen Callers: Lunch at Gino with master auctioneer John Marion—overvalued art and an undervalued restaurant.", Manhattan, inc, October 1984

"Still Hungry After All These Years: The high price of Mayor Koch’s low-cal lunches. A view from the Bridge Café", Manhattan, inc, September 1984

"The House That Levitt Built", Esquire, December 1983

"Oswald’s Ghost", Texas Monthly, November 1983

"The Shadow of the Mole", Harper’s, October 1983

"Link Founding Father to Sleaze King", Harper’s, January 1983

"The Man Who Married Dan Rather", Esquire, November 1982

"Turn On, Tune In, Drop Dead", Harper’s, September 1982

"Do you know Vegas?", Esquire, August 1982

"Ah, Watergate", The New Republic, June 23, 1982

"God’s Fillin’ Teeth!", Rolling Stone, December 10, 1981

"The Hard Sell", Mother Jones, December 1981

"Tales from the Cancer Cure Underground", New West, November 1980

"Dream Dancing", New York, December 10, 1979

"Gooseflesh", Harper’s, September 1979

"Chariots of the Insurance Salesman", New York, July 3, 1978

"Playboy Interview: Bob Dylan", Playboy, March 1978

"The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones", Esquire, September 1977

"The Mysterious Murder of JFK’s Mistress", New Times, October 1976

"The World's Greatest Police Reporter", More, July 1976

"Dead Ringers", Esquire, March 1976

"The Great Toilet Paper War", More, December 1975

"Kanned Laughter", Esquire, July 1975

"Born-Again Bob: Four Theories", New York, September 24, 1974

"Inside the White House: The First & Last Days of a Banana Republic", The Village Voice, August 15, 1974

"Watergate Diary: A Few Quiet Drinks for Liberty", The Village Voice, August 1, 1974

"Tales of the Heartbreak Biz", Esquire, July 1974

"Prologue to Impeachment, 1974", The Village Voice, May 9, 1974

"Bob Dylan’s Opening Night", The Village Voice, January 10, 1974

"The Corpse as Big as the Ritz", Esquire, August 1973

"Mystery of Oak Island", Esquire, February 1973

"Whither Thou Goest?", Esquire, July 1972

"Chappaquiddick After the Bridge", Esquire, February 1972

"Secrets of the Little Blue Box", Esquire, October 1971

"Run, Tommy, Run!", Esquire, July 1971

"Troy Donahue Was Always Just Like He Is", The Village Voice, July 1971

"Hog Farm’s Wayward Bus", The Village Voice, September 10, 1970

"The ’72 Election May Be Held as Scheduled", The Village Voice, April 16, 1970

Interviews and Reviews

What the JFK Conspiracy Theories Say About Us Ron Rosenbaum talks about the Warren Report, the Zapruder film and the debate over Kennedy's assasination, October 27, 2017

Nearly two decades since he published ‘Explaining Hitler,’ Ron Rosenbaum talks about why he reopened his look at the Fuhrer with a new edition of his classic study. Ron Rosenbaum on Hitler, Hollywood, and Quantifying Evil, The Daily Beast, July 26, 2014

Ron Rosenbaum and Lee Siegel talk at the Templeton Foundation Cyber-anonymity as a snake in the garden, July 11, 2010

“Ron Rosenbaum,” The Leon Charney Report, October 17, 2004

“Skull and Bones,” 60 Minutes, June 13, 2004

“Golums, Memory, Evil,” Studio 360, WNYC, April 6, 2002

“Skull and Bones: A Conversation with the First Outsider to Witness the Clandestine Initiation Ceremony of the Yale Secret Society that Produced Two Presidents Named Bush,” Democracy Now, August 16, 2001

Schapiro, Mark, “The Secret Parts of Fortune by Ron Rosenbaum,” Salon, August 23, 2000

“Saving a Classic,” Weekend Edition, NPR, March 13, 1999

“Explaining Evil,” Weekend Edition, NPR, August 1, 1998

Boynton, Robert, “Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil, by Ron Rosenbaum,” Newsday, July 19, 1998

Kamiya, Gary, “The Artist of Death,” Salon, June 30, 1998

Greenberg, David, “Looking for Hitler: A Writer’s Revenge,” Forward, June 26, 1998

Dowden, Steve, “The Mystery of Evil,” The Boston Globe, July 19, 1998

Alex Belth talks with Ron Rosenbaum about his long career in journalism The Classic Q&A: Ron Rosenbaum, May 11, 2017

© Robert S. Boynton