xvi, 345 pages,  unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages -327) and index.
Part I: Education of a talk-show host, 1947-1979 -- Shock jock -- When David met Merrill -- Part II: The anti-talk show, 1980-1984 -- The art of stupid -- Not tonight -- The Harvard takeover -- Part III: The archangel of irony, 1984-1987 -- The founding fathers of late night -- The writer under the stairs -- The Letterman generation -- The two Daves -- Part IV: Writer's block, 1988-1993 -- Comedy is not pretty! -- Meg and Mom -- Part V: The very big show, 1993-2015 -- The agony of victory -- The Oscar myth -- Hinky -- More fun than humans should be allowed to have.
In a career spanning more than thirty years, Letterman redefined the modern talk show with an ironic comic style that transcended traditional television. Yet he is a remote, even reclusive, figure whose career is widely misunderstood. Zinoman goes behind the scenes of Letterman's television career to illuminate the origins of his revolutionary comedy, its overlooked influences, and how his work intersects with and reveals his famously eccentric personality.