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

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4.30  ·  Rating details ·  685 ratings  ·  72 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 May 1st 1996)
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Lewis Weinstein
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cloud & Olson have produced a magnificent account of the beginnings of broadcast journalism in London, Berlin and other centers in the late 1930s into the war years.

... Murrow's opening … "This … is London" … delivered often with the sound of bombs in the background

... radio correspondents dug out stories with their reporting, wrote the scripts, and spoke on the air … creating a sense of immediacy

... Murrow's guidance … use language and images that are informative and compelling to you (the broa
...more
Eric_W
Feb 04, 2009 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
...more
Evan
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
James Lewis
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I approached this book with more than academic interest since I knew Janet Murrow well, Fred Friendly to a lesser extent, and, at one time or another, met Sevareid, Cronkite, Marvin Kalb, and a few others. I entered TV journalism at a time when they were leaving it and worked in the same building as the CBS News Washington Bureau.

The book is an excellent tale of the lives of the men and women Ed Murrow corralled at the start of World War II, their invention of radio news reporting, and the mann
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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
...more
D. E.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A LO./SC. Factual Account of The Mirror Boys (PITFLOBJ)

LO./SC. Have collaborated on a factual account of the Murrow. Boys, as they were known, before, during and after World War II. These men were the father's of journalism, written journalism, not what you see today. The gentlemen presented the facts and let the truths speak for themselves. In the early 50's television broadcasting began and if you knew what yellow journalism is you would see it daily on TV. The days of the Murror. Boys were be
...more
Dan
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very good book that chronicles the life of Edward R. Murrow in WWII and how he created the CBS news bureau and became the voice that America and the World heard from 1939 to 1945. Murrow set up a news service with reporters scattered across Europe during the conflict and provided reports from the front lines on the war and its progress. Many of the those who Murrow hired during this time were well known when I was growing up. Eric Sevareid, Howard K. Smith and William L. Shirer are well known ...more
Ed Ruggero
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another great read by Lynne Olson. Murrow was a man of great vision for radio, this new medium, but it took scrappy reporting from dangerous corners of the globe to bring Murrow's vision to fruition. And what a cast of characters! ...more
Mike
Oct 05, 2013 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
...more
Mark
Jun 15, 2010 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
sue buechel
Jul 05, 2015 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.
...more
Patricia
Sep 09, 2012 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. ...more
Betsy
Jun 08, 2015 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.
Beth Finke
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am so reliant on National Public Radio to keep me up-to-date with news these days that it’s hard to imagine a time when broadcast journalism did not exist.
But there was. The Murrow Boys is a well-written, moving –sometimes gripping – true story that helped me better understand the huge role Edward R. Murrow and the American writers he recruited to cover events in Europe and Asia had in shaping public opinion about our involvement in WWII.
The authors of this book worked in print journalism an
...more
Amanda
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a Lynn Olson stan going back to 2010, so I thought it was time I read one of her earliest collaborations with Stanley Cloud. This is a fascinating look at the development of news programming, first in the golden age of radio through the transition to network television. The story focuses primarily on the careers of 8 journalists, the original members of CBS's team founded by Ed Murrows & Bill Shirer. The beginning of the book discusses radio as the exciting new medium challenging the old ne ...more
Robyn
Free | Mixed feelings | I watched a YouTube video of What's My Line featuring Murrow as the celebrity guest, and it got me interested in him and his Boys. This book happened to be free at the time, so I picked it up and read the first half in a couple days. It was a little overpopulated, but that isn't something it can help: there were a lot of people involved, and none could rightfully be left out. The WWII years were fascinating, and I just devoured that section, but after the war my interest ...more
Stinger
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a moving story of the lives of those who pioneered broadcast journalism. This book is an intertwined set of biographies set like a wheel with spokes connected to the hub, Egbert Murrow. (I can understand why he changed it to Edward). Morrow’s boys were highly ambitious and intelligent as well as hard-working. Each wanted to make a name for himself; in some ways it is glorious and in other ways sad that they felt so needy for appearing to be great in the eyes of others. There is much I can l ...more
Jeff
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
History on air & in print

This is a great blow-by-blow accounting of how Ed Murrow & his boys ushered America into the age of radio journalism during WW II, and incidentally pushed CBS to the top of the news heap, where it would stay till that new-fangled TV pushed its way into our conscious.
Margaret
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 20c-history
Ah WWII... a golden age of radio news, thanks to Ed Murrow and CBS. The WWII section of the book is fast paced, complex and fascinating. But sure why the authors had to go into every detail of the personal and professional lives of multiple radio journalists after the war, up to and including their deaths!
Ann
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How Ed Murrow and his "boys" created the golden days of broadcast journalism. The days when knowledge and integrity were valued, the days before corporate greed created the infotainment industry we have today. ...more
Gordon
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-to-read
I thoroughly enjoyed this account of the great and brave work of Edward R Murrow and his hand picked colleagues. It had a little more detail than I cared for, once the war was over, and didn’t have the dramatic impact of Citizens of London, Olson’s best work.
Jane Thompson
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
News History Story

This book covers the story of Murrow's young men who reported the news on CBS during World war 2. It also describes their careers after the war and follows each of them until death. It is an interesting story and one which shows how little game means
...more
Brian Hand
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very incisive book

Told me very much about the CBS team before and after WW2 and about the voices and faces of the men who I've collected a great deal of old news shows its into their story's in great detail and is well worth reading and I intend to read more by these authors
...more
Roger Briggs
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The golden years of journalism

Fascinating, riviting account of broadcast journalism from radio to television. The heyday of a tough and courageous breed of reporter...A living history that leaps off the page.
Timothy
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I did not finish this book. PLan to in the future.
Lorene
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Definitely a 4star if not 4.5! Great history. Realization hat these ‘stars’ were just like us. Doing their job to the best of their ability. Changing the world on day at a time.
Heather G
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow

I had no idea there was so much fighting for news to be broadcast on the radio during WWII. This was truly a fascinating history, very readable and compelling.
Steven Sandberg
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The finest book written on the history of broadcast journalism. A must-read for anyone involved in broadcast news.
Mike
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Lynne Olson!
Rudolph Lioi
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

Well written and researched. Avery good read. Interesting look at the infancy of broadcast journalism and how it evolved into modern day television.
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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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