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Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg
by Rick Bragg
University of Alabama Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-0-8173-1027-1
Library of Congress Classification HN59.2.B72 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 306.0973

A Pulitzer-Prize winning writer looks beyond the headlines for extraordinary tales of ordinary people and their life struggles.

Over the past twenty years, writer Rick Bragg has earned legions of fans with his award-winning newspaper stories and with his critically aclaimed memoir All Over but the Shoutin'. His unique stroytelling talent and his sympathy for the day-to-day struggles of everyday people set him apart from journalists who focus on political intrigue and the foibles of the rich and famous.

This collection showcases Bragg's talent for turning seemingly ordinary situations into extraordinary stories by bringing together more than sixty of his most recent feature articles, most of them written for the New York Times. Bragg explores such questions as: What happens to someone released from prison for a crime he didn't commit? Who takes care of the graves of poor people? What keeps an elderly woman from selling her land for a tidy profit? Bragg's curiosity often leads him to society's margins, where he wins the confidence of those who have good reason to mistrust others.

Bragg has reported on some of the most newsworthy tragedies in the nation, and his unfolding coverage of events such as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Susan Smith child murders is included here. Once again, though, his special ability to connect with people allows him accesss and perspectives that many other reporters do not achieve.

Whether he's profilling the sheriff who broke the Smith case or relatring the efforts of Alabama churchgoers to understand a Sunday morning tornado strike, Bragg writes with genuine compassion and sentiment but without being sensationalist. He looks where other's don't and gets behind the headlines to the people standing there stunned and often, until he finds them, voiceless. When asked how he came up with his remarkable stories, Bragg has his answer down pat: "Somebody told me."

Rick Bragg, Miami bureau chief for the New York Times, won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for his "elegantly written stories about contemporary America." He has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the St. Petersburg Times, and the Birmingham News, and he is the recipient of the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award. His 1997 memoir, All Over but the Shoutin', recounts his hardscrabble youth in Alabama.

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