The Prince of Print

A biography of the New York Times's James Reston

EARLY IN THIS SKILLFUL, colorful biography, John Stacks writes that his subject, James (Scotty) Reston of the New York Times, was "the best journalist of his time, and perhaps the best of any time." This is a stretch. The saving grace of journalism is that it has room for so many varied methods and practitioners. Ernie Pyle, Robert Capa and Edward R. Murrow all covered the same war but in different ways; it's senseless to try to rank them.

Still, in one particular form of journalism--Washington-based newspaper coverage of the decisions, motives and actions of major governmental figures--Reston was for...

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