His Life and Times
Communications and Media Studies
Published by: Fordham University Press
795 pages, 146.00 x 222.00 mm
- ISBN: 9780823218820
- Published: January 1999
Murrow is the biography of America’s foremost broadcast journalist, Edward R. Murrow. At twenty-nine, he was the prototype of a species new to communications—an eyewitness to history with power to reach millions. His wartime radio reports from London rooftops brought the world into American homes for the first time. His legendary television documentary See It Now exposed us to the scandals and injustices within our own country. Friend of Presidents, conscience of the people, Murrow remained an enigma—idealistic, creative, self-destructive. In this portrait, based on twelve years of research, A. M. Sperber reveals the complexity and achievements of a man whose voice, intelligence, and honesty inspired a nation during its most profound and vulnerable times.
In this superb biography, Sperber tells the story of a reporter/commentator who set standards for broadcast news integrity. Part of CBS's fledgling news operation staff, Murrow honed his journalistic skills in London prior to WW II. Before and after the US joined the world conflict, he was describing the horror of Nazism via daily live CBS radio reports--from a rooftop in London during the blitz, from a transport plane during a paratroop drop over the Low Countries, from Buchenwald. Murrow continued to establish standards of reportage with his Hear It Now (on radio), See It Now (television), and CBS Reports (a television program that such covered sensitive issues as exploitation of migrant workers). CBS eventually became intolerant of heavy-duty journalism, and Murrow left the network. He continued to be harshly critical of the soft nature of television news. In 1960, he became head of the United States Information Agency; in 1965, he died of lung cancer at the age of 57. Sperber discusses both the programs and the corporate and political pressures they brought to Murrow. Includes exhaustive and interesting photographs (badly reproduced). Joining such biographies as Alexander Kendrick's Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow (1969) and Joseph Persico's Edward R. Murrow (1988), Sperber's volume falls short only because of the author's worshipful attitude. All collections. ~—Choice