Aug 25th, 2021
Wakefield began his journalism career as a civil rights reporter for The Nation, The Atlantic, Esquire, and The New York Times. After his coverage of the Emmett Till trial, he continued being fascinated by trials. “It was like reading a novel,” he explains in this episode. He talks about the James Jones From Here to Eternity trial and the Adam Clayton Powell tax evasion trial, and he talks about Dorothy Day, Norman Mailer, and William Buckley. In 1968 he wrote a longform piece about the Vietnam War, “Supernation at War and Peace” that came out as an entire issue of the Atlantic and was reprinted as a book. That reporting took him to San Francisco, where he spent time with his old New York friends Joan Didion and John Donne. During this reporting assignment, he interviewed Dean Rusk and Hubert Humphrey.