Maynard, who died in 1993, was noted in journalism as the former editor who bought California's Oakland Tribune and the first black American to own a major daily. This book collects some 90 of his syndicated columns. Maynard wrote in a clear, uncomplicated style-fine for newsprint, but nothing special-and his views on subjects political are sensible but hardly visionary. This book's value lies in its cumulative portrait of the author and his life. Born in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood to Barbadian immigrants who believed in work, religion and family love, Maynard left home for Manhattan's Greenwich Village as a teenager, then apprenticed at a newspaper in York, Pa., learning the rhythms and responsibilities of small-town life. He grew up in a city where integration and ethnic mixing were possible, and he learned an unshakable racial pride. Perhaps most important, his family eschewed television-``Milton Berle is an agent of the devil,'' said his dad-so Maynard was steeped in books; many people who are not, he observes, never gain a love of learning. As the sensitive introductions by his journalist daughter show, Maynard passed on his legacy. (July)
Readers who remember the special wisdom--blending passion with serenity--that animated the print and TV commentary of the late Robert Maynard, editor, publisher, and own"er in the 1980s of the "Oakland Tribune", will want to read this collection of his syndicated columns, edited by Dori Maynard, his journalist daughter. The columns probe their author's experiences, from youth in Brooklyn through a distinguished reporting career to a final battle with prostate cancer, and tackle a broad range of subjects: family values and government, TV and baseball, history and holidays. A sixtyish woman in a doctor's office told Maynard she loved his column "except when you write about Lee Atwater. It's the only time you become mean." (Her comment appears in a 1990 column that notes that Atwater, like Maynard himself, reconsidered his priorities in the face of serious illness.) Maynard was in fact almost never "mean" : he dug for facts and probed for truth, but his curiosity was grounded in concern and appreciation for ordinary Americans. This book reminds us of how much we miss his humane vision.