I F Stone a Portrait

Andrew Patner, Author Pantheon Books $15.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-394-55808-0
Why is so little written about I. F. Stone, who for 60 years has been America's most celebrated radical journalist, and whose Weekly was for many years required reading, even for those in Washington whom it regularly pilloried? That is one of the cogent questions asked, but only partly answered, by journalist Patner, who has put together an all-too-slim but entirely engaging portrait of his feisty subject. Stone was elusive, to say the least, and was only finally persuaded to tolerate a series of fleeting interviews on the run by the combined efforts of his wife Esther and Studs Terkel. What he wanted to talk abouthis long passionate interest in ancient Greece and its philosophers (The Trial of Socrates, his new study, is reviewed in Nonfiction Forecasts, Dec. 4)and what Patner wanted to pursueStone's journalistic career and political viewsmean that we get a great deal more of the former than of the latter. But somehow Patner skillfully weaves the disjunctive material together into a portrait of a formidably self-taught man of clear principle, rich enthusiasms and frequent humor, whose impact on American political life has never been adequately assessed. The book is no substitute for a full-length biography, but neither is it trivial or superficial; it merely whets one's appetite for more on Stone. (February)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
Paperback - 174 pages - 978-0-385-41382-4
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