Final Draft: The Collected Work of David Carr

Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780358206682. $28. LIT
Journalist Carr (1956–2015) began his impressive career in his home state of Minnesota, then moved to Washington, DC, and finally to New York and the New York Times. The mostly chronological layout of this collection allows readers to see Carr develop his style and hone his skills. He wrote about politics both local and national, media and business news, his home life, show business, and more. His takedowns of media and show business figures are lacerating and precise. He even takes himself to task for being one of the many reporters (including Ta-Nehisi Coates, who contributes a foreword) that “looked away” from the burgeoning sexual assault charges against performer Bill Cosby. He’s especially tender with reformed and not-so-reformed addicts, having walked that path himself. While some pieces may seem dated, many address issues and people still on the scene today—Hillary Clinton, Fox News, Robert Downey Jr., the dismantling of newsrooms, government and corporate chicanery. Standouts include a visit with the interview-averse Neil Young, a slow Acela train ride, and articles about Details magazine, the DC social scene, and cats on the internet.
VERDICT This collection will make readers wish Carr was still here to share his observations. A must for aspiring journalists and fans of Carr who want to read more of his award-winning reporting.
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