These works singularly and together describe the education of David Maraniss as an author and the discipline and commitment required of deep reporting and fine writing, which are inseparable in the nonfiction narrative form..
The character studies here range from politicians (Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore) to great sports figures (Vince Lombardi, Roberto Clemente, Wilma Rudolph, Muhammad Ali, Larry Doby). Maraniss also explores what happens when ordinary life is shattered by violence and loss, from the personal loss of a beloved sister to the communal losses of September 11, Virginia Tech, and the horrors of an ambush in Vietnam. .
"The world of nonfiction writing is a continual graduate school," Maraniss concludes. "But only if you avoid the easier path, the lure of assumption and attitude, and open yourself to what can be an educational and fulfilling lifelong journey." .