Wil S. Hylton (2014)

This episode is a rebroadcast of the interview Matt Tullis did Wil S. Hylton in March of 2014. At the time, the two talked about Hylton’s new book, Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II.

The book focuses for the modern-day search for one American bomber that crashed over the Pacific Islands during the war. That bomber carried 11 men, who for decades, were listed as missing in action.

When Hylton started the piece, he thought it was going to be a magazine piece. He had no idea it would expand into his first book.

“I never really imagined that I would write a book to be honest,” Hylton says. “I venerate the magazine form. I always have. To me, it’s the perfect gem-like distillation of a story, and it comes with all of its own special habits and history that are quite different from either doing fiction books or newspaper writing, broadly speaking. I just love it. This is the form that I’ve always wanted to work in, but what happened was this particular story forced me to try a new medium.”

On May 8, Hylton had a new magazine piece published by The New York Times Magazine. It was headlined “My Cousin Was My Hero. Until the Day He Tried to Kill Me.” It’s a brutal yet important piece that looks at toxic masculinity and how it impacts all of us, and how it nearly ended Hylton’s life.

Hylton opens up entirely about his own life in this piece, and it’s not always pretty. That’s what makes the essay so effective, and, hopefully, imactful.

Hylton’s work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The New Yorker, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stone, New York, and many other magazines. He has been selected for numerous anthologies, including The Best Music Writing, Best American Political Writing, Best Business Stories, and Next Wave: America’s New Generation of Great Literary Journalists.

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