I.F. STONE: A Portrait by Andrew Patner

I.F. STONE: A Portrait

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Really more of a book-length interview than a portrait as Patner, in his first book, interweaves brief commentaries about Stone with extensive excerpts from conversations held with the octogenarian, iconoclastic journalist in Washington, D.C., in April 1984 and May 1987. A brief yet thorough ""Sketch"" of Stone's life--from precocious New Jersey schoolboy to columnist for the Nation and PM; from famed editor of I. F. Stone's Weekly to his current studies in ancient Greek--precedes the conversation transcripts, These transcripts, themselves intercut by further Patner commentary--including a piquant chapter about the peculiar absence of Stone from contemporary histories--are ordered in no discernible pattern and cover such diverse material as Stone's greatest scoop (about the widesweeping effects of a 1957 nuclear test), his views on the Rosenberg and Hiss trials, and his passion for ancient Greek. Fortunately, because these transcripts are verbatim Stone, ""Izzie's"" ebullient personality usually shines through (on Reagan: ""He's the biggest faking sonofabitch we've ever had in the capital""; on Homer: ""Homer in translation is just a big mishmash of war and mythology. But in the original--what an artist! What artistry, what magic! What magic!""). This grab-bag gives a strong and welcome taste of Stone, but is so scattered that most likely only those already enamored of Stone will want to rummage through its contents. (More of Stone will be found in his own The Trail of Socrates, reviewed below.)

Publisher: Pantheon