Journalism is not in good shape these days. Newspapers are closing rapidly, and The New York Times continues to be a hot topic in the rumor mill. Ironically, 20 years ago one of the champions of print journalism and investigative reporting died. I.F. Stone was indeed a great journalist. His newsletter, I.F. Stone Weekly, published from the mid-1950s to 1970s, contained some of the best journalism of his era. Luckily his writings wonít be forgotten in the comprehensive and insightful anthology The Best of I.F. Stone.
The collection covers many of the same topics that plague the U.S. government today: foreign policy toward the East, particularly Russia and China; how fear is used to censor ordinary citizens; the game of politics; corruption and scandal. I.F. Stoneís words come during the Cold War under McCarthyism, the Cuba Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War, but the themes of justice and criticism of the government still ring true.
Newcomers to I.F. Stone will delight in his insightful and witty commentary on historical events. Lovers of journalism will value the investigative nature of the pieces in the book. Other anthologies of I.F. Stone exist, but many are either limited to specific topics or out of print. The Best of I.F. Stone is the first definitive collection that covers the wide array of topics that Stone fondly liked to tackle. He influenced many journalists in the 1960s and 1970s with his straightforward tone and liberal ideals regarding the military, the rights for minorities, and economic disparity. His ideas may not be revolutionary in todayís world, but he expresses them very well.
The underlying theme of The Best of I.F. Stone is his passion for the public good. When reading his essays, one gets a feeling that Stone is speaking for the ordinary man. When he questions the merits of McCarthy at a time of fear in the U.S., itís easy to imagine what he would say about the Bush post-9/11 era. Perhaps that is the enduring legacy of Stone: his strong sense of doing the public good by being thoughtfully critical of the government.
The Best of I.F. Stone is a great collection of solid, informative journalism.