Scotty : James B. Reston and the rise and fall of American journalism

by John F. Stacks

Hardcover, 2003




Boston : Little, Brown, c2003.


A portrait of one of the twentieth century's most influential journalists describes the role of James B. Reston in shaping and transforming American journalism and sheds new light on Reston's impact on U.S. politics.

User reviews

LibraryThing member NewsieQ
James (Scotty) Reston was a famous and well respected reporter, editor and columnist for the New York Times from the 1940s through the 1970s; he retired in 1989. In the end, he was thought to be compromised as a columnist because of his too-close and too-friendly ties with some of the newsmakers he covered, chief of which was Henry Kissinger. Although he was still revered by many of his colleagues and the journalists he mentored, Scott’s image was tarnished somewhat.

After reading Arthur Gelb’s City Room, his memoir of life at the New York Times, the one character I wanted to know more about was Reston. His was an amazing story: a Scottish immigrant who came to the US without many advantages, without the pedigree and Ivy League education that many of his contemporaries enjoyed, and made it to the top anyway. I came away with an appreciation of what he accomplished and saddened by how he squandered some of it.

John F Stacks does a wonderful job of combing the Reston Papers (at the University of Illinois, Scott’s alma mater), interviewing Reston’s contemporaries and family, and synthesizing it into a readable and insightful story.

I don’t know why I’m fascinated with journalism history, and the New York Times specifically, but reading Scotty has not dampened my enthusiasm and, in fact, gave me a short list of other books I want to read about what I consider pretty interesting topics.
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