Books: Behind the By-Lines

THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER by Gay Talese. 555 pages. World. $10.

Inside this fat and often sassy non-fiction portrait of a great American institution, a slightly thinner work of factualized near-fiction struggles to be born.

The institution is the New York Times, where Gay Talese worked as a reporter for ten years. The newspaper's serious beginnings, by his accounting, stretch back well before 1896, when the paper (circ. 9,000) was bought by Adolph Ochs for $75,000. Times tradition includes Ochs' historic dictum about the news: "I want it all." Trying to get it all...

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