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A sweeping behind-the-scenes look at the last four turbulent decades of “the paper of record,” The New York Times, as it confronted world-changing events, internal scandals, and faced the existential threat of the internet “An often enthralling chronicle [that] delivers the gossipy goods . . . Like Robert Caro’s biographies, [The Times] should appeal to anyone interested in power.”—Los Angeles Times A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
For over a century, The New York Times has been an iconic institution in American journalism, one whose history is intertwined with the events that it chronicles—a newspaper read by millions of people every day to stay informed about events that have taken place across the globe.
In The Times, Adam Nagourney, who’s worked at The New York Times since 1996, examines four decades of the newspaper’s history, from the final years of Arthur “Punch” Sulzberger’s reign as publisher to the election of Donald Trump in November 2016. Nagourney recounts the paper’s triumphs—the coverage of September 11, the explosion of the U.S. Challenger, the scandal of a New York governor snared in a prostitution case—as well as failures that threatened the paper’s standing and reputation, including the discredited coverage of the war in Iraq, the resignation of Judith Miller, the plagiarism scandal of Jayson Blair, and the high-profile ouster of two of its executive editors.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents and letters contained in the newspaper’s archives and the private papers of editors and reporters, The Times is an inside look at the essential years that shaped the newspaper. Nagourney paints a vivid picture of a divided newsroom, fraught with tension as it struggled to move into the digital age, while confronting its scandals, shortcomings, and swelling criticism from conservatives and many of its own readers alike. Along the way we meet the memorable personalities—including Abe Rosenthal, Max Frankel, Howell Raines, Joe Lelyveld, Bill Keller, Jill Abramson, Dean Baquet, Punch Sulzberger and Arthur Sulzberger Jr.—who shaped the paper as we know it today. We see the battles between the newsroom and the business operations side, the fight between old and new media, the tension between journalists who tried to hold on to the traditional model of a print newspaper and a new generation of reporters who are eager to embrace the new digital world.
Immersive, meticulously researched, and filled with powerful stories of the rise and fall of the men and women who ran the most important newspaper in the nation, The Times is a definitive account of the most pivotal years in New York Times history.
About the Author
Adam Nagourney has been a journalist for over 45 years. Before joining the New York Times, he worked at USA Today, The New York Daily News, and the Gannett Westchester Newspapers. After being hired by the Times in 1996, he served as the paper’s metropolitan political correspondent, chief national political correspondent, Los Angeles bureau chief, and West Coast culture reporter, returning to cover national politics in 2023.
“Something of a white-knuckle ride with—spoiler alert—a broadly happy ending . . . It is, if you like, a history of kings and queens.”—Alan Rusbridger, The New York Times
“An elegiac quality . . . Stuffed with Old Testament gossip.”—New York Magazine
“Adam Nagourney’s The Times, an often enthralling chronicle of four decades (1976–2016) of management upheaval and digital transformation, delivers the gossipy goods, thanks in part to interviews with nearly all the surviving principals. . . . Like Robert Caro’s biographies, [The Times] should appeal to anyone interested in power. . . . Nagourney’s volume, both candid and fair-minded, is a valuable addition to the canon, adding detail to already well-reported stories.”—The Los Angeles Times
“In the style of a first-rate dramatist, [Adam Nagourney] captures what happens behind the scenes in the newsroom, and in his long, wonderful book I did not find one page that failed to interest me.”—Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power
“Beneath the utter brilliance of the Times’s front page, Succession-level theatrics broil. Adam Nagourney has completely captured the paper in all its glory and heartbreak, and this book is simply addictive. Journalists will devour it. Readers of the Times will be gripped by the dramas of the inner sanctum.”—Graydon Carter, editor of Air Mail
“In this behind-the-scenes look at America’s premier newspaper, the ‘Gray Lady’ comes across as anything but monochromatic or ladylike. Yet Nagourney shows again and again why, for all its flaws, his paper makes the world a better place.”—Amanda Foreman, author of A World on Fire
“With reportorial rigor and a fair-minded analytical voice, Nagourney walks us through years of tumult at the paper, reminding us anew that human forces are forever in play even when they are obscured by the seeming authority of familiar fonts. This is good, important history.”—Jon Meacham, author of American Lion
“Adam Nagourney’s The Times is an insider’s blockbuster account of how The New York Times triumphed over adversity during the past four jangled decades to remain the undisputed newspaper of record. Highly recommended.”—Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot
“Absorbing . . . An exemplary work of journalism about journalism, of surpassing interest to any serious consumer of the news.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Drawing on extensive research and original interviews, Nagourney provides astute insight into leadership under crisis as well as a window onto recent decades of polarizing politics. The result is both a valuable case study of an industry in flux and a unique angle on American history.”—Publishers Weekly