John Jeremiah Sullivan

  • Southern Exposures

    The more nonfiction you read, and from further back in time, the harder it gets to pronounce the word “new” in New Journalism with a straight face. I’m thinking partly here of pieces like Ned Ward’s “Trip to Jamaica,” 1698—Edward Ward, seminal Grub Street hack, writing sarcastically and in a detail-studded first-person prose, a reportorial style that pointed forward to Defoe while listening to Bunyan, about an actual trip he’d made to Jamaica with other prospective settlers. Sixteen ninety-eight—that’s early. When Ward published his dispatch, London’s printers were just emerging from under the

  • culture November 05, 2012

    The Way the World Works by Nicholson Baker

    J. J. Sullivan finds most of Nicholson Baker's new essay collection agreeable and praises many of the essays, admiring Baker's ability to "snatch little impressions in the chopsticks of his prose." But what to make of Baker's argument about pacifism and World War II?

  • culture September 21, 2012

    Where Is Cuba Going?

    On the plane, something odd but also vaguely magical-seeming happened: namely, nobody knew what time it was. Right before we landed, the flight attendant made an announcement, in English and Spanish, that although daylight saving time recently went into effect in the States, the island didn’t observe that custom. As a result, we had caught up — our time had passed into sync with Cuban time. You will not need to change your watches. Then, moments later, she came on again and apologized. She had been wrong, she said.