Before blogging was even imagined, there was I. F. (Izzy) Stone, an independent journalist. I read about him in an article that my father gave me and had to get the new book that contains his essays. Izzy Stone was a journalist who started a four page weekly newspaper. He’d hunt though government documents finding the gems that writers at the big papers missed. He knew that Washington was full of overlooked stories.
He started the Weekly in the 1950’s and by the time he retired in the 1970’s he had a readership of 15,000. A progressive thinker, Stone clearly tries to keep us awake and on the look out for erosion of the Bill of Rights. (See how timely he is.)
This book contains an introduction by one of his researcher interns followed by sections with essays on the First Amendment, WWII, the Cold War, racism, Isreal, the Vietnam War and Heroes and Others. His scrutiny of facts and outsider perspective make for interesting reading. For example, he wasn’t so impressed with Martin Luther King, Jr’s. I Have a Dream speech (he thought it sacchrine – he did believe in King’s aims) as he was with a Socialist Party meeting that weekend where A.Philip Randolph called for economic justice for all. Reading Stone was an interesting look at recent history from a vantage point I hadn’t seen. He’s detailed, insightful, and a master of rhetorical style.