THE WORLD OF TIME INC.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, Volume III: 1960-1980 by Curtis with Geoffrey Colvin Prendergast

THE WORLD OF TIME INC.: The Intimate History of a Changing Enterprise, Volume III: 1960-1980

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Time marches in all directions in the two decades covered in this latest volume of its history. In 1960, it was almost exclusively a magazine publisher, by 1980, a conglomerate. When founder Henry Luce died in 1967 the company was already beginning its transformation. Amail-orderbooks division was off the ground, the Silver Burdett textbook publishing house had been acquired and Sports Illustrated magazine had been launched. After his death, the company exploded with new projects and acquisitions, among them People, Money and Discover magazines, the Book of the Month Club, Home Box Office, and cable TV networks throughout the country. Time became a major factor in lumber and building products through a 1973 merger with Temple Industries and in the pasteboard container field through acquisition of a Chicago manufacturer. These were also the years in which Life died, to be later resurrected as a monthly. The two decades were also strewn with ill-advised and abandoned ventures: Latin American TV stations, foreign-language magazines, General Learning Corporation, a mail-order house, a video-cassette club, the Washington Star(bought 1978, closed 1981), TV-Cable Week magazine among others. The reader gets the impression that Time's management was flying by the seat of its pants during these years; to provide a clearer perspective, Prendergast and Colvin should have contrasted it with other comparable corporations. The winners, however, more than cancelled out the losers and, by 1980, the corporation was far stronger and larger than it had been 20 years before. In 1983, Time got out of forest products and became, once again, the communications empire that Luce had envisioned. By that time though, video was surpassing publishing in profitability. This book is far more than a chronicle of business strategy (or lack thereof) and corporate diversification. It contains fascinating sections on how Time handled the Kennedy assassination, the Watergate crisis, and how the corporation and its publications changed from hawkish to dovish during the protracted Vietnam war. In sum: reportage at its best by former and present Time Incers (including three researchers) that brings readers right into the management suite and the editorial offices, there to meet the diverse, often brilliant, sometimes erratic people of a unique American corporation.

Pub Date: Jan. 30th, 1985
Publisher: Atheneum