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American Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone

“Prodigious research and a grateful heart inform this essential biography of an irreplaceable journalist.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“I. F. Stone is an inspiration to anyone who worries about the collapse of big newspapers with big budgets.” —Norman Pearlstine

As June 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of I. F. Stone’s death, Farrar, Straus and Giroux is delighted to announce the publication of D. D. Guttenplan’s definitive new biography, American Radical.

Throughout his remarkable career, I. F. Stone was many things: a scrappy New York City reporter, a New Deal insider, a pioneering correspondent filing stories on the founding of the state of Israel, a relentless investigator whose exposes on everything from Standard Oil’s sweetheart deals with Nazi cartels to nuclear testing struck fear into the hearts of official liars and fatcats, a fearless opponent of McCarthyism, and a prophetic early critic of the Vietnam War. As Guttenplan argues in American Radical, what really set Stone apart was the strength and passion of his political convictions and his ability, for more than fifty years, to do the hardest thing for any journalist to do: think for himself. What’s more, Guttenplan shows us that Stone’s story offers a truer, more vivid history of his times—spanning three major wars and six Presidential administrations—than we can otherwise obtain.

In the midst of an economic crisis and a long and unjustified war, with many urgent questions about our society and politics unanswered, and with the landscape of journalism rapidly changing, it is the perfect time to reconsider Stone’s life and achievements. As The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland writes, “This is the right book, at the right time, from the right author.”

“A lively portrait of a journalist who was as passionate about radical politics and getting a story right as he was about ballroom dancing . . . Guttenplan’s lively biography brings back to life a man whose work has often been forgotten but whose writing and life provide a model for the kind of freethinking journalism missing in society today.” —Publishers Weekly (for full review click here)

“This is the right book at the right time from the right author. The right book, because IF Stone remains one of the great American voices, whose words still catch fire all these years later. The right time, because in the age of Obama liberals the world over are once again looking to the United States as a source of progressive inspiration. And the right author, because D.D. Guttenplan has that rare ability to combine scholarly rigor with an eye for a cracking human story—and the talent to tell it.”
—Jonathan Freedland, columnist, The Guardian (U.K.)

“Don Guttenplan's brilliant biography of I. F. Stone is a wonderfully vivid portrait of a courageous journalist who exposed the follies of American policy in Vietnam. It is also an acutely observed, clear-eyed account of the dilemmas faced by the American Left from the days of the Popular Front, through the McCarthy era, to the challenges of the civil-rights movement and the New Left, giving us an indispensable analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of American radicalism.”
—Anthony J. Badger, author of FDR: The First Hundred Days
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The Holocaust on Trial

“The most informed, disinterested account of this significant proceeding as we are likely to get.”—Kirkus Reviews

The account of a trial in which the very meaning of the Holocaust was put on the stand.

D. D. Guttenplan's The Holocaust on Trial is a bristling courtroom drama where the meaning of history is questioned. The plaintiff is British author David Irving, one of the world's preeminent military historians whose works are considered essential World War II scholarship and whose biographies of leading Nazi figures have been bestsellers. Irving refuses to admit to Hitler's responsibility in the extermination of European Jewry, replying that the Holocaust as we know it never happened.

The defendant is Deborah Lipstadt, who blew the whistle on Irving, calling him "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." Irving sued for libel, and under English law, it was up to Lipstadt to prove the truth of her writings, and the falseness of Irving's views. 4 pages of b/w photographs.

New York Review of Books
Guttenplan makes no bones about the moments in Stone's life when he ducked or kept silent on issues that collided with his deeply held beliefs... Always a radical, he was critical of liberals, who he often found were trimmers, weaklings, and liars, although he never hesitated to praise them when he thought they had done the right thing. Throughout his life, his view was, in one of Guttenplan's deft phrases, "Never turn your back on a liberal in a tight corner." I learned a great deal from Guttenplan's book, not least about some aspects of Stone's character that I only partially understood. - read more »
The New York Times
This admiring but not uncritical biography makes a strong case for I. F. Stone's relevance to our own time. - read more »
The Washington Post
I.F. Stone was among the most interesting of 20th-century American journalists.  - read more »
The Los Angeles Times
From the '30s through Vietnam, I.F. Stone doggedly reported the truth as he saw it. J. Edgar Hoover saw it a bit differently. - read more »
In These Times
By the time I.F. "Izzy" Stone died in May 1989 at age 82, he had transformed from America's premier radical journalist into a respectable icon of his profession. - read more »
American Prospect
Guttenplan's scrupulous, spirited biography is plainly a labor of love. Rightly, Guttenplan views Stone as a radical who happened to be a journalist and who thought that the mission of journalism was to nudge the arc of the universe a bit further in the direction of justice. - Todd Gitlin, American Prospect - read more »
What was so great about I. F. Stone? For many journalists—most but not all of them on the left—“Izzy” remains the ultimate scribbler of truth to power.  - read more »
The Economist
THE prediction that Isador Feinstein Stone, America’s most celebrated investigative journalist, made to his wife proved right. “Honey”, he told her, “I’m going to graduate from a pariah to a character, and then if I live long enough I’ll be regarded as a national institution.” - read more »
The Village Voice
For almost 20 years, those smart enough to read I.F. Stone's four-page newsweekly got America's best bargain in journalism.  - read more »