Izzy: A Biography of I.F. Stone

Robert Charles Cottrell, Author
Robert Charles Cottrell, Author Rutgers University Press $35 (388p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1847-3
Paperback - 978-0-8135-2008-7
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Stone (1907-1989), an industrious and intellectually consistent American journalist in a profession not noted for either virtue, certainly deserves a full-length study, and this biography is nothing if not painstaking. Cottrell, an associate professor of history at the University of California, has obviously plowed through copious stacks of back issues of the Nation , the New Leader , P.M. and other leftist journals as well as Stone's own admired Newsletter. His book thoroughly records the evolution of the American Left from its New Deal peak to its postwar nadir and current state of sullen uncertainty. Through it all Stone kept a straight socialist viewpoint, disappointed by, and sometimes willfully blind to, the faults of the Soviet Union, but always seeking a fairer America. Cottrell certainly keeps this undeviating course firmly in view, and quotes Stone often enough to show how prescient he usually was. But the personal element is lacking; Stone's sometimes irritable, overweening, selfish and egotistical personality, as opposed to his political acumen, comes through only at second hand. As a documentary study of a notable American life, however, this will serve well until a more humanly focused biography comes along. (Nov.)
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