This web site, myself included, has been frequently unkind and occasionally unfair to ABC News White House correspondent Jake Tapper over the years. So allow me to recant, sort of: Over the course of the last election campaign, Tapper has been among the least obnoxious mainstream-media voices in the Washington bubble. His brief stint filling in as host of This Week was the best thing to happen to that show in years (and I nominated him as its permanent host). But more important, he has written an excellent, unsparing new book about the tragic mindlessness of the war in Afghanistan and the lives of the men and women tasked with waging it.
Peter Ames Carlin, the former television critic for the Portland Oregonian, has made something of a second career out of detailed, carefully crafted, empathetic narratives of the lives of songwriting titans: First 2006's Catch a Wave, a gorgeous and thoroughly researched recounting of the strange tale of Brian Wilson, then 2009's Paul McCartney: A Life.
Break out your reading glasses and racial animosity: it's time for a very special alumni edition of Gawker Book Club! Patrice Evans is a current staff writer for Grantland and a generally accomplished writer online and off—you may know him by his alter ego, The Assimilated Negro. You may know him by his many pieces published on this very site!