After describing how his family fled Nazi-occupied France for New York with the aid of the French author and Nobel Prize winner André Gide, publisher André Schiffrin — an avowed Socialist from his early teens who later attended Yale and Cambridge — advocates for the fairness of Socialism and describes his work on behalf of the Socialist cause. The author seamlessly weaves his own life story into an overview of the political climate in the United States and Europe from World War II to the present, and demonstrates the chilling effect that the McCarthy era had on freedom of expression in the U.S. Schiffrin provides a clear explanation of what happened to family-owned publishing houses that were taken over by large corporations, whose owners viewed ever larger profits as their primary goal. An eloquent advocate for a truly independent press, he lays out a compelling argument that FCC deregulation of “cross-media ownership” under the Bush Administration led to an almost total silence by journalists on weapons of mass destruction and the need for the war in Iraq. Schiffrin, a professed atheist, briefly discusses anti- Semitism in various contexts, including the murder of French Jews during the Holocaust. Index, b/w photos.
Shira R. London is the librarian at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community High School in Baltimore, MD. She holds an M.L.S. from Columbia University.