Gossip: Book summary and reviews of Gossip by Joseph Epstein

Gossip

The Untrivial Pursuit

by Joseph Epstein

Gossip by Joseph Epstein X
Gossip by Joseph Epstein
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Book Summary

A dishy, incisive exploration of gossip - from celebrity rumors to literary romans à clef, personal sniping to political slander - by one our "great essayists." (David Brooks)

To his successful examinations of some of the most powerful forces in modern life - envy, ambition, snobbery, friendship - the keen observer and critic Joseph Epstein now adds Gossip. No trivial matter, despite its reputation, gossip, he argues, is an eternal and necessary human enterprise. Proving that he himself is a master of the art, Epstein serves up delightful mini-biographies of the Great Gossips of the Western World along with many choice bits from his own experience. He also makes a powerful case that gossip has morphed from its old-fashioned best - clever, mocking, a great private pleasure - to a corrosive new-school version, thanks to the reach of the mass media and the Internet. Gossip has invaded and changed for the worse politics and journalism, causing unsubstantiated information to be presented as fact. Contemporary gossip claims to reveal truth, but as Epstein shows, it's our belief in truth that gossip today threatens to undermine and destroy.

Written in his trademark erudite and witty style, Gossip captures the complexity of this immensely entertaining subject.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Delectable firsthand anecdotes and portraits... add to the pleasures of this serious appraisal. Readers who share Epstein's concern about gossip's power 'to invade privacy, to wreck lives' and his reluctance to wholly condemn it 'because I enjoy it too much' will find him disquieting and delightful." - Publishers Weekly

"Epstein packs a lot of historical information into his book, and this makes it a good choice for academic journalism and media collections. It will also spark lively discussions in nonfiction book groups." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Amusing and serious in equal measures, Epstein grants readers the pleasurable company of a master observer of humanity's foibles." -Kirkus Reviews

This information about Gossip shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Joseph Epstein

Joseph Epstein is the author of the best-selling Snobbery and of Friendship, among other books, and was formerly editor of the American Scholar. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

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