by Jeanette Walls

Anne Ferber (08/02/12): This book was written long before the blockbuster The Glass Castle brought much fame and fortune to this author. As a gossip columnist/journalist Ms Walls was on the front line of what has been considered the cross over from newsworthy important reporting to "delicious" gossip passing for news and obsessing the public.

This book is extremely well written and researched, and it gives an historic perspective to modern tabloid journalism. Beginning with the "Confidential" stories of celebrity figures in Hollywood's early heydays and continuing to the present sensationalism of today's headlines by the main media--beautifully ridiculed by Jon Stewart and friends--she presents a somewhat logical continuum of the reasons for this metamorphosis.

One paragraph stands our as a distilling of the argument:

"A lot happened in the world that week. The Berlin Wall was toppled....Drexel Burnham Lambert, a wildly powerful junk bond company that spear headed the 1980s financial boom...collapsed...and after twenty seven years in prison, Nelson Mandela was freed. But for ELEVEN STRAIGHT DAYS, the front pages of the tabs were devoted to the Trump Divorce."

This is a compelling page turner as it reveals more than anything else how we, the public, are the driving force behind the dumbing down of America. (To be fair, England and Australia are miles ahead.)
Rating: ****

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