by Henry Grunwald ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 8, 1997
An American success story, shot through with praise for--and some well-placed criticism of--the author's adoptive country. Grunwald was born into a middle-class Viennese Jewish family, most of whom left Austria at the rise of Nazism, first for Paris and then for New York. (On their arrival at Ellis Island, Grunwald writes, a friendly American gave him a Coca-Cola. He hated the beverage but remembered the gesture. ""And so,"" he writes of the moment, ""began my real American education."") While his father, a composer of light operas, struggled to find work, writing wretched show tunes in an idiom he couldn't quite master, young Henry became a copy boy at the newly founded Time magazine. Years later, he was to be appointed its chief editor, as well as ambassador to Austria under the Reagan administration. About his political interlude we learn only a little, but Grunwald has as much to say about Time magazine as James Thurber did of the New Yorker, and his memoir will be of special interest to students of journalism. (Grunwald accords evident respect to founding editor Henry Luce, a man much maligned in other journalistic memoirs.) Well positioned as a correspondent and editor, Grunwald seems to have met nearly everyone of influence in our century, from James Burnham and Sidney Hook to Henry Kissinger and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, of whom he paints lively portraits. He also had many dealings with Whitaker Chambers, the Time editor who denounced State Department operative Alger Hiss as a Communist agent, and his long account of that involvement makes for fascinating reading. So, too, do his reflections on the life and career of Richard Nixon, who tried to cultivate Grunwald as an agent of his political rehabilitation late in life, even though Grunwald had commissioned more than 30 Time cover stories on Watergate-related issues. A vivid, excellently crafted journey through recent history, as well as through one man's life.
Pub Date: Jan. 8, 1997
Page Count: 672
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996
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