George Clooney's Research for Good Night, and Good Luck

Director and actor George Clooney put a lot of preparation into Good Night, and Good Luck , his film about the confrontation between journalist Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Here are some of the books Clooney consulted when crafting this riveting period drama. And be sure to check out the movies George Clooney thinks you should see, too.


1. The Best and the Brightest
The Best and the Brightest
by David Halberstam

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Ballantine Books
October 26, 1993
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Review
"For anyone who aspires to a position of national leadership, no matter the circumstances of his or her birth, this book should be mandatory reading. And anyone who feels a need, as a confused former prisoner of war once felt the need, for insights into how a great and ... Read more

2. Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism (Turning Points in History)
Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism (Turning Points in History)
by Bob Edwards

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John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
April 1, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Edwards, who has hosted NPR's Morning Edition since 1979 (though he's just announced his retirement from that post, as of April 30 of this year), examines the charismatic career and pioneering efforts of renowned newsman Murrow for Wiley's Turning Points series. Murrow's broadcasting innovations were indeed significant turning points. ... Read more

3. The Powers That Be
The Powers That Be
by David Halberstam

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University of Illinois Press
October 19, 2000
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Review
"The book provided manna for political, history, political science and journalism junkies and groupies. It bared the warts -- biases, politically partisan maneuverings, egos, dollars-and-cents motivations, personality clashes, society maneuvers, internal p... Read more

4. In All His Glory: The Life and Times of William S. Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting
In All His Glory: The Life and Times of William S. Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting
by Sally Bedell Smith

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Random House Trade Paperbacks
November 5, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
CBS television tycoon Paley is portrayed as a narcissist, womanizer and tyrannical father in this well-documented biography, which is packed with TV and radio anecdotes and high-level intrigue. According to PW , this "often unflattering but never malicious... Read more

5. Murrow: His Life and Times (Communications and Media Studies)
Murrow: His Life and Times (Communications and Media Studies)
by A. M. Sperber

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Fordham University Press
January 1, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Sperber, a freelance journalist, offers a richly detailed life of legendary CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow (19081965), whose WW II radio reporting ("Thisis London") and See It Now TV documentaries (including his expose on Sen. Joseph McCarthy) set the highes... Read more

6. Edward R. Murrow: An American Original
Edward R. Murrow: An American Original
by Joseph E. Persico

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Laurel
March 1, 1990
Paperback

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Review
If one is curious to find out what makes some people stand out above the rest, what makes a person a hero, the story is in ... Read more

7. With Heroic Truth: The Life of Edward R. Murrow
With Heroic Truth: The Life of Edward R. Murrow
by Norman H. Finkelstein

Out of Print--Limited Availability
Clarion Books
April 14, 1997
Hardcover

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From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up. Drawing heavily upon primary-source materials, including transcripts of many of Murrrow's radio and television broadcasts, Finkelstein presents a sharp, clear portrait of one of the 20th-century's great journalists. He opens with a lengthy pro... Read more

8. World War II on the Air: Edward R. Murrow and the Broadcasts That Riveted a Nation
World War II on the Air: Edward R. Murrow and the Broadcasts That Riveted a Nation
by Mark Bernstein

Currently unavailable
Sourcebooks MediaFusion
May 1, 2003
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
With all the "embedded" hoopla, this informative and absorbing study of Edward R. Murrow and his fellow broadcasters at CBS gets back to sources. Bernstein (Grand Eccentrics) and Lubertozzi (The Complete War of the Worlds) give them the lion's share of the... Read more

9. To Strike at a King: The Turning Point in the McCarthy Witch-Hunt
To Strike at a King: The Turning Point in the McCarthy Witch-Hunt
by Michael Ranville

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Momentum Books LLC
October 1, 1996
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
In 1953 the U.S. Air Force attempted to discharge a young lieutenant because his father may have read a communist magazine and his sister was a left-wing radical. They bit off more than they could chew. The producer of Edward R. Murrow's famous televisi... Read more

10. As it happened: A memoir
As it happened: A memoir
by William S Paley

Out of Print--Limited Availability
Doubleday
January 1, 1979
Hardcover

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11. The good guys, the bad guys and the first amendment: Free speech vs. fairness in broadcasting
The good guys, the bad guys and the first amendment: Free speech vs. fairness in broadcasting
by Fred W. Friendly

Out of Print--Limited Availability
Vintage Books
January 1, 1977
Paperback

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12. In Search of Light: The Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow, 1938-1961
In Search of Light: The Broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow, 1938-1961
by Edward R. Murrow

Out of Print--Limited Availability
Da Capo Pr
April 1, 1997
Paperback

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Product Description
Edward R. Murrow was America's greatest broadcaster. In Search of Light is both his permanent testament and a vivid public diary of a tumultuous era. It includes: his reports from the rooftops of wartime London, an American troopship in the Atlantic, a bom... Read more

13. See It Now Confronts McCarthyism: Television Documentary and the Politics of Representation (Studies Rhetoric & Communicati)
See It Now Confronts McCarthyism: Television Documentary and the Politics of Representation (Studies Rhetoric & Communicati)
by Thomas Rosteck

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University Alabama Press
March 30, 1994
Hardcover

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Review
"Rostock's history offers penetrating insight into the extraordinary relationship between Cold War ideology, television documentary, the tactics of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, and their overall impact on political culture. . . . A notable, scholarly contribution to the understanding of this period."--Choice"Readers who are drawn to [this book for ... Read more

14. Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow
Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow
by Alexander Kendrick

Out of Print--Limited Availability
Little, Brown
January 1, 1969
Paperback

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15. Television and the Red Menace: The Video Road to Vietnam
Television and the Red Menace: The Video Road to Vietnam
by Frederika Macdonald

Out of Print--Limited Availability
Praeger Publishers
March 15, 1985
Hardcover

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Review
“This is an important chapter in the history of mass persuasion. The work is comprehensive in its analysis of US television's political role from 1945 to 1965, and the author compellingly bases his case on a thorough investigation of printed materials and audiovisual recordings. Beginning with the alliance between ... Read more