Immersion: A Writer's Guide to Going Deep

University of Chicago Press
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Over three and a half decades, Ted Conover has ridden the rails with hoboes, crossed the border with Mexican immigrants, guarded prisoners in Sing Sing, and inspected meat for the USDA. His books and articles chronicling these experiences, including the award-winning Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, have made him one of the premier practitioners of immersion reporting.

In immersion reporting—a literary cousin to ethnography, travel writing, and memoir—the writer fully steps into a new world or culture, participating in its trials, rites, and rituals as a member of the group. The end results of these firsthand experiences are familiar to us from bestsellers such as Nickel and Dimed and Behind the Beautiful Forevers. But in a world of wary strangers, where does one begin?

Conover distills decades of knowledge into an accessible resource aimed at writers of all levels. He covers how to “get into” a community, how to conduct oneself once inside, and how to shape and structure the stories that emerge. Conover is also forthright about the ethics and consequences of immersion reporting, preparing writers for the surprises that often surface when their piece becomes public. Throughout, Conover shares anecdotes from his own experiences as well as from other well-known writers in this genre, including Alex Kotlowitz, Anne Fadiman, and Sebastian Junger. It’s a deep-in-the-trenches book that all aspiring immersion writers should have in hand as they take that first leap into another world.
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About the author

Ted Conover is a journalist and associate professor of journalism at New York University. His book Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2000 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Conover is also the author of Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes; Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with America’s Mexican Migrants; Whiteout: Lost in Aspen; and The Routes of Man: Travels in the Paved World. He regularly writes for the New York Times, Harper’s, the Atlantic, and many other publications.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 24, 2016
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9780226113234
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
Reference / General
Reference / Writing Skills
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the Pulitzer Prize finalist and National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of Newjack, an absorbing book about roads and their power to change the world.

Roads bind our world—metaphorically and literally—transforming landscapes and the lives of the people who inhabit them. Roads have unparalleled power to impact communities, unite worlds and sunder them, and reveal the hopes and fears of those who travel them.

With his marvelous eye for detail and his contagious enthusiasm, Ted Conover explores six of these key byways worldwide. In Peru, he traces the journey of a load of rare mahogany over the Andes to its origin, an untracked part of the Amazon basin soon to be traversed by a new east-west route across South America. In East Africa, he visits truckers whose travels have been linked to the worldwide spread of AIDS. In the West Bank, he monitors highway checkpoints with Israeli soldiers and then passes through them with Palestinians, witnessing the injustices and danger borne by both sides. He shuffles down a frozen riverbed with teenagers escaping their Himalayan valley to see how a new road will affect the now-isolated Indian region of Ladakh. From the passenger seat of a new Hyundai piling up the miles, he describes the exuberant upsurge in car culture as highways proliferate across China. And from inside an ambulance, he offers an apocalyptic but precise vision of Lagos, Nigeria, where congestion and chaos on freeways signal the rise of the global megacity.

A spirited, urgent book that reveals the costs and benefits of being connected—how, from ancient Rome to the present, roads have played a crucial role in human life, advancing civilization even as they set it back.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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