I.F. Stone (1907 – 89) was a unique figure in American journalism, an iconoclast who worked both at major newspapers and entirely on his own. Born Isadore Feinstein in Haddonfield, N.J., “Izzy” Stone was courageous and principled, a tough combination to beat, particularly when he armed himself with the facts on the controversies of the day. Guttenplan’s focus here is on Stone’s political commitments and how his leftist view of the world shaped what he wrote and edited over the decades — and both expanded and limited his audiences over the years. Though the book is well-researched, it’s too bad Guttenplan is not the writer Stone was. This biography is a bit of a tough slog, with seemingly endless explorations of the political affiliations of the book’s many characters. Some trimming would have done this book good. Index, end notes.
David Cohen is a senior editor at Politico. He has been in the journalism business since 1985 and wrote the book Rugged and Enduring: The Eagles, The Browns and 5 Years of Football. He resides in Rockville, MD.; his wife, Deborah Bodin Cohen, writes Jewish children’s books.