Jimmy Breslin: Essential Writings

Editor Dan Barry

Library of America


Jimmy Breslin’s journalistic career spanned the years 1960 to 2004 and earned him the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. His columns and articles were pithy, often scathing, and always to the point. They covered aspects of life that are truly American yet didn’t always feature in mainstream media. His essay on the last public servant to serve John F. Kennedy is poignant, and his sense of outrage is apparent in his article on the scandals that began to inflict the Catholic church, Breslin’s own faith, in the 90’s.

Some of his work still resonates today because in many cases everything changes, but nothing changes. Donald Trump, the border wall, the plight of immigrants seeking a new life are all covered in Essential Writings. Equally, a few articles reflecting Breslin’s opinions and attitudes don’t really hold up today, such as the piece on Palestine.

Essential Writings is a must-have for students and scholars of the period when journalists were truly the watchers who spoke up for Everyman and called out the great and the good on their actions.