World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Jonathan Yardley

Article Id: WHEBN0008029041
Reproduction Date:

Title: Jonathan Yardley  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: The Young Lions, David R. Slavitt, Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, The Plot Against America, 2012 UTSA Roadrunners football team
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Jonathan Yardley

Jonathan Yardley (born 1939) is a book critic at The Washington Post, and at one time of the Washington Star. In 1981 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Background and education

Yardley was born in Pittsburgh in 1939. His father was a teacher of English and the classics, as well as an Episcopal minister and a headmaster at two East Coast private schools. Yardley graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was the editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, in 1961. Yardley is married to biographer/novelist Marie Arana, the former editor of Washington Post Book World.[1] His sons, Jim Yardley and William Yardley, by a previous marriage, are New York Times reporters. He and his son Jim are one of two father-son recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.


After leaving Chapel Hill, Yardley interned at the New York Times as assistant to James Reston, the columnist and Washington Bureau chief. From 1964 to 1974, Yardley worked as an editorial writer and book reviewer at the Greensboro Daily News; during this time, he was also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, academic year 1968-1969, where he studied American literature and literary biography. From 1974 to 1978, Yardley served as book editor of the Miami Herald. From 1978 to 1981, he was the book critic at the Washington Star, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism in 1981. In 1981, Yardley became book critic and columnist at the Washington Post.

Yardley is author of several books, among them biographies of Frederick Exley and Ring Lardner. His memoir about his family, Our Kind of People, describes his parents' 50-year marriage and casts a wry eye on the American WASP experience. He edited H.L. Mencken's posthumous literary and journalistic memoir, My Life as Author and Editor. He has written introductions to books by Graham Greene, A. J. Liebling, Booth Tarkington and others.

Yardley is known simultaneously as a scathingly frank critic and a starmaker. Among the talents he has brought to public light and championed are Michael Chabon, Edward P. Jones, Anne Tyler, William Boyd, Olga Grushin and John Berendt. He wrote a famously harsh review of Joe McGinniss' book The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy, saying "Not merely is it a textbook example of shoddy journalistic and publishing ethics; it is also a genuinely, unrelievedly rotten book, one without a single redeeming virtue, an embarrassment that should bring nothing except shame to everyone associated with it."[2] In early 2003, Yardley began a series called "Second Reading",[3] described as “An occasional series in which The Post’s book critic reconsiders notable and/or neglected books from the past.” Every month or so, for the next seven years, he published essays about notable books from the past, many of which had gone out of print or were in some way seen as neglected.[4] It was in this series (in 2004) that he gained attention for his highly critical look at The Catcher in the Rye.[5] A collection of the Second Reading columns was published by Europa Editions in July 2011.


Yardley was awarded the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Yardley has been a Nieman Fellow. Yardley was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by George Washington University in 1987, and a distinguished alumnus award by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989.


  • Second Reading: Notable and Neglected Books Revisited. New York: Europa Editions, 2011. ISBN 978-1-60945-008-3
  • Monday Morning Quarterback. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998. ISBN 0-8476-9204-3 ISBN 978-0847692040
  • Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley. New York: Random House, 1997. ISBN 0-679-43949-8 ISBN 978-0679439493
  • Out of Step: Notes From a Purple Decade. New York: Random House, 1993. ISBN 0-517-10628-0 ISBN 978-0-517-10628-0
  • States of Mind: A Personal Journey Through the Mid-Atlantic. Villard, 1993. ISBN 0-394-58911-4 ISBN 978-0394589114
  • Our Kind of People: The Story of an American Family. New York: Grove Press, 1989. ISBN 1-55584-174-0 ISBN 978-1555841744
  • Ring: A Biography of Ring Lardner. New York: Random House, 1977. ISBN 0-394-49811-9 ISBN 978-0394498119

As editor

  • H.L. Mencken, My Life as Author and Editor. New York: Knopf, 1993. ISBN 0-679-41315-4 ISBN 978-0679413158

See also


  1. ^ Offman, Craig, "Washington Post Book World editor steps down",, 15 July 1999 (Accessed 27 February 2007)
  2. ^ Subject: Why Spill Vitriol on Such a Squalid Screed?
  3. ^ Second Reading at the Washington Post
  4. ^ Full list: "Jonathan Yardley’s Second Readings", The Neglected Books Page, last accessed January 10, 2010.
  5. ^ "J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly", by Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, October 19, 2004; Page C01

External links

  • Inventory of the Jonathan Yardley Papers, 1792-2006, in the Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • entry on Jonathan Yardley
  • Interview at Washington Technology
  • Book reviews, by Yardley at The Washington Post
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.