By Alan Brinkley
Acclaimed historian Alan Brinkley gives us a sharply realized portrait of Henry Luce, arguably the most important publisher of the 20th century.
As the founder of Time, Fortune and Life magazines, Luce changed the way we consume news and the way we understand our world. Born the son of missionaries, Henry Luce spent his childhood in rural China, yet he glimpsed a milieu of power altogether different at Hotchkiss and later at Yale. While working at a Baltimore newspaper, he and Brit Hadden conceived the idea of Time: a ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_Ì´å«news-magazineÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_ÌÎå´ that would condense the weekÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs events in a format accessible to increasingly busy members of the middle class. They launched it in 1923, and young Luce quickly became a publishing titan. In 1936, after TimeÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs unexpected success ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´å and HaddenÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs early death ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´å Luce published the first issue of Life, to which millions soon subscribed.
Brinkley shows how Luce reinvented the magazine industry in just a decade. The appeal of Life seemingly cut across the lines of race, class and gender. Luce himself wielded influence hitherto unknown among journalists. By the early 1940s, he had come to see his magazines as vehicles to advocate for AmericaÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs involvement in the escalating international crisis, in the process popularizing the phrase ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_Ì´å«World War II.ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_ÌÎå´ In spite of LuceÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs great success, happiness eluded him. His second marriage ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´å to the glamorous playwright, politician and diplomat Clare Boothe ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´å was a shambles. Luce spent his later years in isolation, consumed at times with conspiracy theories and peculiar vendettas.
"The Publisher" tells a great American story of spectacular achievement ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´å yet it never loses sight of the public and private costs at which that achievement came.
ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_Ì´å«How fortunate we are . . . that Luce is now the subject of a monumental, magisterial biography, the finest ever written about an American journalistÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_ÌÎå´ - Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_Ì´å«Brinkley has a gift for restoring missing dimensions to figures who have been flattened into caricature . . . The book does full justice to LuceÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs outsider insecurity, his blind affinity for men of power and his defects as a family man. But it is a humanizing portrayal, and it credits the role his magazines, Time and Life especially, played in a country growing uneasily into the dominant geopolitical force in the worldÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_ÌÎå´ - Bill Keller, The New York Times Book Review
ÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_Ì´å«Alan Brinkley has done history and media buffs a tremendous service with this well-written and balanced biography of Henry Luce . . . [Brinkley] is especially effective at placing events in historical context, and rarely does his narrative bog down with too much arcane information . . . Essential reading for anyone interested in learning about modern mass communication though the prism of the life of one of its founding fathersÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎÌ_ÌÎå´ - Claude R. Marx, Boston Globe
NOTE: Purchasing "The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century" from WND's online store also qualifies you to receive three FREE issues of WNDÌÎÌ_ÌÎ_ÌÎå«Ì´åÇs acclaimed monthly print magazine, Whistleblower. Watch for the FREE offer during checkout.