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Short Synopsis
Acclaimed historian Alan Brinkley gives us a sharply realized portrait of Henry Luce, arguably the most important publisher of the twentieth century.

Full Synopsis
As the founder of Time, Fortune, and Life magazines, Henry Luce changed the way we consume news and the way we understand our world. Born the son of missionaries, Luce spent his childhood in rural China, yet he glimpsed a milieu of power altogether different at Hotchkiss and later at Yale. While working at a Baltimore newspaper, he and Brit Hadden conceived the idea of Time: a "news-magazine" that would condense the week's events in a format accessible to increasingly busy members of the middle class. They launched it in 1923, and young Luce quickly became a publishing titan. In 1936, after Time's unexpected success—and Hadden's early death—Luce published the first issue of Life, to which millions soon subscribed.

Historian Alan Brinkley shows how Luce reinvented the magazine industry in just a decade. The appeal of Life seemingly cut across the lines of race, class, and gender. Luce himself wielded influence hitherto unknown among journalists. By the early 1940s, he had come to see his magazines as vehicles to advocate for America's involvement in the escalating international crisis, in the process popularizing the phrase "World War II." In spite of Luce's great success, happiness eluded him. His second marriage—to the glamorous playwright, politician, and diplomat Clare Boothe—was a shambles. Luce spent his later years in isolation, consumed at times with conspiracy theories and peculiar vendettas.

The Publisher tells a great American story of spectacular achievement—yet it never loses sight of the public and private costs at which that achievement came.

"Runnette reads Luce's own words with a little extra exuberance, reflecting the hopeful spirit of the young journalist." ---AudioFile

"Mr Brinkley has an eye for both the telling detail and the broad sweep of Luce's role as the man who saw the need for a national news magazine and foresaw the American century." ---The Economist

"Brinkley has told Luce's saga with scrupulous fairness, compelling detail and more than a tinge of affection for his vast ambitions and vexing frailties." ---The Wall Street Journal

"Alan Brinkley has done history and media buffs a tremendous service with his well-written and balanced biography of Luce." ---The Boston Globe

"A comprehensive study of a man whose money and power were not sufficient to gain him close friends or happy marriage though they brought him...a prominent place in American and world history." ---Chicago Sun-Times

"A monumental, magisterial biography, the finest ever written about an American journalist, a book that secures Luce's large if problematic place in history." ---The Washington Post

"A thoroughly researched, nuanced appreciation of a complex, talented and troubled man." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"A top-notch biography, and a valuable addition to the history of American media." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"In this era, with print media in crisis, Brinkley reminds us of its heyday." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Brinkley's material is so rich and presented so well that [listeners] without a preexisting interest in Luce quite likely will find themselves sucked in to the narrative." ---The Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Bestseller

The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley's Pick

Kirkus Bestseller

New York Times Bestseller


Kirkus Review

Publishers Weekly Review

Library Journal Review

The New Yorker Reviewers' Favorite Book

The Publisher

Henry Luce and His American Century

Author Alan Brinkley

Narrated by Sean Runnette

Publication date Jun 22, 2010

Running time 22 hrs

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