Gene Weingarten

Cindy Seip

Gene Weingarten, the only two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, is a Washington Post journalist. He writes long-form stories as well as Below the Beltway, the weekly syndicated humor column. His previous books include I’m With Stupid: One Man. One Woman. 10,000 Years of Misunderstanding Between the Sexes Cleared Right Up (with Gina Barreca); The Hypochondriac’s Guide to Life. And Death; Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs; and The Fiddler in the Subway, a collection of his best-known work. One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America (Blue Rider Press) is the story of Sunday, December 28, 1986, a day that was literally picked out of a hat by three strangers. With that date in hand, Weingarten spent the next six years proving that there is no such thing as an ordinary day. That Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s turned out to be filled with comedy, tragedy, implausible irony, cosmic comeuppances, kindness, cruelty, heroism, cowardice, genius, idiocy, prejudice, selflessness, coincidence, and startling moments of human connection, along with evocative foreshadowing of momentous events yet to come. Lives were lost. Lives were saved. Lives were altered in overwhelming ways. Many of these events never made it into the news; they were private dramas in the lives of private people. They were utterly compelling. One Day asks and answers the question of whether there is even such a thing as “ordinary” when we are talking about how we all lurch and stumble our way through the daily, daunting challenge of being human. A starred review in Kirkus called One Day “A captivating portrait of a day in the life of the United States … One of the finest plain-prose stylists in American journalism, Weingarten tells his elegantly structured stories without sentimentality or melodrama… A slice of American life carved out by a master of the form.”