One Man's America : A Journalist's Search for the Heart of His Country

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9780385414081: One Man's America : A Journalist's Search for the Heart of His Country
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A wise, witty, and humane autobiography filled with a passionate curiosity about the people--and meaning--of America. One Man's America is at once a stirring account of a young immigrant becoming an American, a personal history of the major milestones of the late twentieth century, a fascinating insider's view of the most widely read news magazine in the world, and a warm and loving family saga. Here also is the remarkable success story of a boy driven from his native Vienna by the Nazis and returning years later as an ambassador; of a copy boy who rose to become editor of Time magazine.

During his long and distinguished career in journalism, Grunwald knew, befriended, and feuded with some of the greatest figures on the world stage, from Whitaker Chambers and Marilyn Monroe to John F. Kennedy and Henry Kissinger to Ronald Reagan and Fidel Castro. But the immense power his position allowed him was tempered by a fierce desire to know everything he could about the mores and folkways of the whole United States, Main Street bankers and student radicals alike, through whom he sought to understand the heart of his adopted country.

One Man's America is, above all, a hymn to the ever-turbulent, ever-changing land of America.
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Henry Grunwald worked his way from copy boy at Time magazine in the 1940s to editor in chief of the entire publishing empire of Time Inc., before retiring in 1987. In this moving memoir, Grunwald tells of his Jewish family's flight from Nazi Austria, his new life and schooling in America, and his eventual rise to dizzying heights in the publishing industry. Along the way, Grunwald lets slip some telling asides about the literati he knew in the media world and the political and cultural movers and shakers he kept company with, as well as his personal opinions about the direction of American life in the years since World War II. One Man's America is a terrific insider's view of the magazine and newspaper business in its hey-day and a memorable memoir by a thoughtful man.

From Kirkus Reviews:

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. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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