Next week we'll begin posting responses we received to the spring NBCC Reads question: What is your favorite work of literary journalism? To get the ball rolling a little early, we asked Geoff Dyer—winner of the 2011 NBCC award in criticism for Otherwise Known as the Human Condition and author of the new book Zona—to recommend some of his favorites. His picks and comments are below.
David Finkel, The Good Soldiers. From a field packed with excellent books this is perhaps the best to come out of the Iraq war. A great work of reportage and—because Finkel is not trying to create one—a great work of literature too.
Dexter Filkins, The Forever War. A close runner-up.
Rebecca West, A Train of Powder. Maybe not the whole book, but the sections dealing with the Nuremberg Trials and Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War are more than enough.
Hunter S. Thompson, Hell’s Angels. Recently re-read it and it stands up very well.
David Simon and Ed Burns, The Corner. Even better—and more important, historically—than Homicide.