Dictionary of Literary Biography

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Editorial Reviews

Zom Zoms
This volume of the "Dictionary of Literary Biography" is the second devoted to American magazine journalists in the period from 1900-1960. (The first was volume 91, published in 1990.) According to the editor, "the shape of the magazine industry in this period was such that an additional volume was required to do justice to its leading editorial figures." In this volume, 36 publishers, editors, and journalists are profiled The introduction provides information on the scope of the volume, as well as the evolution of the magazine during the period. The bulk of the book consists of lengthy profiles of journalists, providing information on major professional positions held, a list of their publications, a biographical profile, biographies written about them, references used in compiling the sketch, and an indication of where the subject's papers are housed. The profiles, which are generally engaging and well written, trace the subjects' lives from childhood through the major points in their journalism careers. Of the journalists profiled, only one (Margaret Cousins) is a woman. Cousins is one of eight journalists covered who were alive at the time of this volume's publication. Some (most notably William F. Buckley, Hugh Hefner, and John Johnson) are still active. At least two of the journalists, Theodore Dreiser and H. L. Mencken, have been profiled in other volumes in this series. The profiles are nicely illustrated with photos of the subject and/or of the magazines they were associated with An appendix provides a list of magazine editorial statements from the period covered, taken, for the most part, from the magazine's first issue. This is followed by a list of contributors, a checklist of further readings, and a cumulative index to the 137 volumes in the series. No information is provided about the authors of the profiles other than their academic affiliation In compiling this volume, the editor has placed the emphasis on quality, not quantity. Such important figures in the field as Harold Ross and the Wallaces (the founders of "Reader's Digest") are given extensive coverage. This useful reference tool is recommended for purchase by university libraries building comprehensive collections in mass communications; public libraries will want to consider purchase, too.
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