Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklySperber, a freelance journalist, offers a richly detailed life of legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow (19081965), whose WW II radio reporting (``Thisis London'') and See It Now TV documentaries (including his expose on Sen. Joseph McCarthy) set the highest standards for broadcast journalism. While sometimes creaking under the weight of her exhaustive research (over 150 interviews and previously untapped CBS, BBC, U.S. and Murrow papers), Sperber's book succeeds brilliantly in illuminating crucial periods: her subject's early exposure to ideas and world affairs in his work at the Institute of International Education and in efforts on behalf of refugee German scholars; his pioneering wartime reporting with ``Murrow's Boys'' (William Shirer, Howard K. Smith, etc.); and his frustrating battles with management, sponsors and Cold War critics at CBS-TV, where his independence foundered ultimately with the rise of a large, tightly controlled news organization. Behind the handsome, chain-smoking superstar (who, ironically, was best known for his celebrity TV interviews on Person to Person, which he deemed embarrassing), Sperber finds a complex intellectual and moralist, given to dark moods, whose creative achievements occurred in a medium that never rose to his vision for it. Must reading for anyone interested in Murrow and early broadcasting. Photos. BOMC alternate. (June 12)
Library JournalAn absorbing, exhaustively researched, and powerful biography. An articulate young man, Murrow had already become a leader in college. He went on to New York to direct the Institute of International Education, then joined CBS radio, where he made a name for himself broadcasting from a besieged London in World War II. At CBS television, his expose of Joseph McCarthy led to the end of the senator's power. Later an executive at CBS and then director of the U.S. Information Agency under John Kennedy, Murrow always fought relentlessly, often alone, for the free dissemination of news and information. Sperber's interviews with Murrow's family, friends, and colleagues give the book a more personal tone than Alexander Kendrick's Prime Time: the life of Edward R. Murrow (Little, 1969) or Fred Friendly's Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control (Random, 1967). Highly recommended. Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svces., Wondervu, Col.
BooknewsA biography of pioneer American broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow (1908-65) who became a prototype for the profession and remains one of the best known. He began his career with radio dispatches from London rooftops during World War II, and later shifted to television with popular news programs and documentary exposes of scandals and injustices. Freudlich Books, New York, published the 1965 edition. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
- Random House Publishing Group
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