Exploring the revolution in journalism sparked by the turbulence of the 1960s, Smiling Through the Apocalypse is the story of maverick editor Harold T.P. Hayes, who made Esquire magazine a galvanizing force in American culture.
A leading architect of the ‘New Journalism’, Hayes granted unprecedented journalistic freedom to the most talented artists and writers of the time including Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Nora Ephron, Peter Bogdanovich, Gore Vidal, Diane Arbus, Norman Mailer, and George Lois. Forging Esquire’s pop-cultural capital with provocative covers and controversial reportage, Hayes transformed the magazine into a rigorously curated reflection of the American zeitgeist.
In Smiling Through the Apocalypse, filmmaker Tom Hayes – Harold’s son – paints a portrait of editorial genius using the voices and images of the iconic writers, photographers and artists who, with Hayes at the helm, brought Esquire to the vanguard of the cultural revolution.