The other Esquire articles reprinted here take a similar tack. We encounter Joe Louis running a public-relations business, and Muhammad Ali, weighed down with Parkinson’s, visiting Castro in Cuba. But the most famous example of this genre, and the one that gives this anthology its title, is a 1966 story about Joe DiMaggio, written not long after the death of his former wife Marilyn Monroe—an article widely celebrated for its candor and understated compassion. “And so,” wrote Talese, “the baseball hero must always act the part, must preserve the myth, and none does it better than DiMaggio….” Nor does anyone tell it better than Talese at the top of his game.


James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.