A Complex Fate : William L. Shirer and the American Century
LJ Reviews 2015 April #1
In 1925, recent college graduate William L. Shirer left Iowa for Europe, where he became a successful foreign correspondent. He was hired by CBS Radio's Edward Murrow in 1937 and together they revolutionized radio; broadcasting spellbinding live reports from Berlin (Shirer) and London (Murrow), sharing an urge to alert complacent Americans to alarming developments in prewar Europe. Cuthbertson (Nobody Said Not To Go) traces how Shirer's superior reporting and linguistic talents, knowledge, intellect, ego, and determination contributed not only to his journalist and commentator superstardom but also to his personal turmoil, especially his traumatic rift with Murrow. The adventurous years in Europe (1925–40), provide especially gripping reading. During the 1950s, falsely blacklisted as a Communist sympathizer but determined not to be defeated, Shirer lectured and wrote his best-selling The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Cuthbertson examines Shirer associates' memoirs, letters, and other records to balance the sometimes questionable veracity of Shirer's memoirs. This engaging account of Shirer's life and groundbreaking accomplishments during tumultuous times also raises such fundamental journalistic issues as objectivity, corporate sponsorship, censorship, political correctness, wartime embedded reporting, and contemporary "citizen journalism." VERDICT Readers at all levels, but especially students of 20th-century history, broadcasting, and news media, will relish this vivid biography.—Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY[Page 99]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.