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The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism
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The Murrow Boys: Pioneers on the Front Lines of Broadcast Journalism

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  328 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Publishers Weekly described The Murrow Boys as "a lively, colloquial history of broadcast journalism that is so exciting one's impulse is to read it in a single sitting." It tells the swashbuckling tale of Edward R. Murrow and his legendary band of CBS radio journalists - Charles Collingwood, Howard K. Smith, William Shirer, Eric Sevareid, and others - as they "paint pictu ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 31st 1997 by Mariner Books (first published 1996)
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Jul 03, 2012 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
The “Murrow Boys” were a group of radio correspondents active before, and for a while after, World War II who were considered protégés of the great CBS journalist and smoker, Edward R. Murrow. Together they invented broadcast journalism, watched it become great and then wither under the influence of McCarthyism and the advent of television.

Murrow and the aura of integrity became an icon that modern broadcasters tried to emulate and idolize. Dan Rather “donned the mantle so often in public” that
The Murrow Boys were a hotshot cadre of plucky young globetrotting CBS radio news correspondents created and supervised by the mesmeric Bogart-like newsman, Edward R. Murrow; who as cohorts smoked, drank, bluffed, blustered and whored their way across the battlefield theatres of World War II. They were the original Rat Pack of the remote feed; the Mad Men of the microphone. They not only scooped the competition (NBC, etc.) but each other. They hated and loved each other's guts equally. They twea ...more
Oct 30, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite book of the year. Which is a bit funny because it was a freebie I got from the Kindle Lending Library, of which I am a big fan despite the large amounts of cruddy books you have to wade through to find the interesting stuff. Nevertheless, this is one of the good ones.

The Murrow Boys is effectively a history of broadcast news, distilled through the lens of the few men, led by Ed Murrow, who changed the way it was delivered. Tracing their ascent as the first celebrity repo
Jun 27, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing
To me, Murrow has always stood out as "The Man Who Took On McCarthy." I knew about his history of reporting from London during the Blitz and "creating broadcast journalism," but put more weight on the McCarthy pieces he did. This book not only presented a more rounded view of Murrow for me, but I also gained a much-needed understanding of the people Murrow put together during the war; the people who made a name for Murrow more than he did for himself. These were people who lived an adventure, an ...more
Jeff Crosby
The first half of this book--set in the years before and during World War II--is fascinating. The evolution of Murrow and his boys into the core of CBS radio news is engrossing when set against the backdrop of the war.

For me personally, the second half of the book is less compelling. I enjoyed learning about these men and how their lives and careers proceeded in the post war years, but it was more fragmented. As some of them left CBS I found myself loosing the thread of each story. I don't thin
Leaon Gronlund
Nov 08, 2016 Leaon Gronlund rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

For one who "grew up" listening to many of these Murrow Boys during WW2, this was a great book. It took me way back to a time long ago--very insightful, educational, entertaining.
May 03, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing
This is a superb read for anyone interested either in Edward R. Murrow -- and the remarkable band of journalists he found to work with him during the crucial WW II years (these are the "Boys" of the title) -- or of the evolution of broadcast journalism, from how Murrow transformed the radio "news" to the sad denouement of "news" in our own time with TV "personalities" as central players.

This book was coauthored by Lynne Olson (whose most recent work -- Those Angry Days -- I so admired) and her h

Murrow's "boys" were reporters hired by Edward R. Murrow for CBS before and during the Second World War, who were important reporters for some decades thereafter. They included William Shirer, Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingworth, William Downy, Howard K. Smith, and Larry LeSuer. Good female reporters didn't last long as management did not like hiring women, although Murrow hired a couple of good female reporters, such as Marry Marvin Breckinridge. Murrow seems to have a knack for hiring able, k

Heather Goss
Apr 21, 2016 Heather Goss rated it it was amazing
What a great example of what non-fiction can be. The title here doesn't lie: Although by necessity the authors discuss Edward R. Murrow, it's done almost wholly in relation to the group of young men (and a couple women)--the Boys--he recruited to report on World War II from the front lines. They were strewn around Europe and the U.S., so we get to know each one--his adventures, his great successes, his personal flaws--and watch how they weave in and out of each others' lives as they participate ...more
Sandra Ross
Dec 24, 2014 Sandra Ross rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book while reading an autobiography on Walter Cronkite.

What a gem it is!

This was all way before my time. The closest I've gotten to anything by Edward R. Murrow was the movie "Good Night and Good Luck," which was loosely based on some of his life.

This book brings the cadre of first-class CBS reporters that Murrow assembled to cover the prelude to and the advent of World War II to life. It shows them during this period and then how they fell apart personally and professionally
Jan 06, 2014 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Fantastic study of pioneering journalists, by a famous journalist (stan cloud) and his wife, also a respected journalist. They did a fantastic job of not mythologizing these great and famous men (who were really a men's club, even though a few women were allowed on the periphery) but of laying out their (substantial) contributions to modern journalism. They also very clearly show their faults and shortcomings, their enormous egos, their boys-clubbiness, their smoking and drinking and other human ...more
Doug Ebeling
Enthralling, these men led exciting lives during a fascinating time. Their individual contributions to the coverage of the war were impressive and this book makes each of their individual stories come alive in a way that is almost novelistic. They each certainly had enough adventure in their various pursuits of the story of covering World War II for a brand new medium that was unproven and not respected until they came along and showed what could be done. Unfortunately their later lives were oft ...more
Sep 10, 2015 Don rated it really liked it
Even if you think you have no interest at all in broadcast journalism, (And I can't imagine anyone thinking that), you owe it to yourself to give this gem of a book a try. There are so many reasons to recommend it. The experiences these journalists had were truly amazing. Their reports influenced public opinion for many years and their work formed the cornerstone of radio and TV news broadcasts for many years. (It's too bad that the values in which they believed have been replaced by what we now ...more
Jun 29, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
It is a sometimes romanticized account about often romanticized men. I learned a lot about Murrow but more about the men he hired and this thing they created called broadcast journalism.

Eric Sevareid once told America after victory in Europe that they would forever be strangers with their soldier sons coming home from the war. He may have feared but not truly known how difficult their own transition to post-war reporting would be. For as much as their network would forever celebrate them, it al
Joan L. Draper
Dec 17, 2014 Joan L. Draper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if you remember any of them - this is a must read.

Olsen and Gould go into a great deal of depth in telling the story of Murrow and his boys, of their closeness and of their of their giant egoes. And yet they come off as very human with all the plusses and minuses every human has. Mistakes are made as all humans make mistakes,they are no different. Murrow has the great ability to pick men with talent equal to his own. And with those giant egoes, their are bound to be hurt feelings. I read this b
sue buechel
Jul 05, 2015 sue buechel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read

I remember a lot of these reporters at the end of their careers. Fascinating to read how they all started and what happened throughout their long careers. I think the news anchors and reporters today could learn a great deal from this book. I agree with this book that today's news broadcasts are totally lacking in reporting the news. I want news NOT celebrity gossip. Why are things happening, what are the implications, is there a history behind it. That's what I want.
Nov 26, 2008 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Great read and page-turner. History of real people written without strictly academic manner. Journalists who would go anywhere where something important was happening. Each of them could be a hero of a book himself. Story of complicated personalities and full of anegdotes connected to them. Those people were great examples of their craft, which went wrong in years after WWII, when vanity and commercialism appeared in a place of profesionalism.
Apr 15, 2010 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These guys were certainly amazing reporters. They knew their topics first hand and were not talking heads. Unfortunately, the smoked, drank, ran around on their wives, and let their egos get in the way of relationships and that sort of life catches up with you in short order. They also could not transition to television yet couldn't let go and let the next generation take it on. Very good read, but sad in the end.
Mar 08, 2009 Katy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a fascinating read that offers insight into, not only the lives and motivations of these amazing men and women, but to the hand that they had in shaping today's broadcast journalism at its best (and the pain they felt in seeing broadcast journalism at its worst). The authors do a good job of not putting the "Murrow Boys" up on pedestals, highlighting the faults along with the strengths of all, even Murrow himself.
Nov 18, 2012 Patricia rated it liked it
Well written, but so hard to finish. I fell in love with Lynne Olsen's later work "Citizens of London" and was disappointed that this didn't have the same magic. After the war ends, this book loses steam. It picks up a bit with McCarthyism and the fight with CBS over truth vs. objectivity in reporting. A great resource for anyone studying the history of broadcast journalism, but anyone else should run out and get "Citizens of London" if they want a great read.
Brian Page
Sep 01, 2013 Brian Page rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written but ultimately tragic tale. On one hand I should hope that every journalism student would read this book. On the other hand, I'm not sure that anyone younger than say, 50 or 55 will really be able to identify with the times, the extraordinary people, and the milieu so evocatively described by Cloud and Olson. It's a heartbreaking story told with great beauty.
Jun 08, 2015 Betsy rated it really liked it
This is a book that focuses on Edward R. Morrow and the men (and one woman) who pioneered radio news broadcasting for C.B.S. during WWII. It is an eye-opening book about war and its aftermath when new enemies put in an appearance. Television changed everything as did politics which played an important part in the story.
Aug 13, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
The pioneering suggested in the title all took place during WW II, and that was the part of the book I enjoyed the most. There was a lot more inner CBS politics than I really wanted to know, although it was interesting to see people that I remember (Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather) start to pop up in the later years.
Lisa of Hopewell
Jan 12, 2011 Lisa of Hopewell rated it really liked it
Starts out well....hope it continues well.......

Another one I forgot about. I don't know if I'll get it again. Finally there is someone actually named "Egbert!" Ed Murrow was really Egbert Roscoe.......who knew?
Jan 09, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What splendid lives these Murrow Boys led. The boozing, the incessant smoking, the womanizing, and the writing and reporting of course. There's even naming of names during the McCarthy era here. If you're at all interested in early radio news or World War II journalism, this book is for you.
A great story. Journalists as adventurers, smart and independent thinkers. Substance over form. Makes you wish there was still that kind of journalism. A bit heavy handed about how great the "Boys" were, but hard to argue against.
Jan 19, 2011 Glenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting account of the pioneers of broadcast journalism. A far cry from what passes as news now on television.
Mar 24, 2016 Bobbie57 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. Perhaps it helps if you were alive during WWII even if you were just a child.
Oct 26, 2013 Scott rated it really liked it
Finally finished this thing. It was a great book on how the men who shaped American news came to be.
Dec 06, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written account of the rise and fall of broadcast journalism in the USA. The authors kept things interesting throughout.

If you like American history I recommend this book
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I was born and raised in and around Los Angeles and graduated as an English major from Pepperdine College. After college, I was a naval officer for six years.

I am also a former journalist (the Monterey Peninsula Herald, Time magazine, the Washington Star, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner) and, now, am the author or co-author of books, both fiction and non-fiction. With my wife -- the writer and his

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