Top positive review
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Well Researched and Objective Bio
on April 28, 2010
For me, there were no huge revelations in this book but there were many, many instances that supported the general perception I had formed regarding Luce over the years. Much has been written about Henry Luce. Not a warm and fuzzy type, he avoided intimacies and had few friends. While he wanted to be recognized as a major force in the publishing world and was very successful in that respect, he had an innate sense of what his burgeoning audience wanted. He was reclusive and secretive to certain respect and seemed like an odd choice as a life partner. His second wife Claire Booth Luce seemed to be as ambitious as Luce but far more social; she seemed to be a good choice given CBL's drive and goals and Luce's level of influence. In many ways, it seemed as though their marriage might have been likened to a good business deal. As a parent, he was not of the hands on variety. As with most things, he delegated responsibilities freely when it came to familial duties and parenting.
For an essentially reclusive personality such as Luce, it was interesting just how much information was out there and pieced together to present a complete and fairly consistent picture. What I found of particular interest was Luce's relationship with Time co-founder Britton Haddon. Ostensibly, Haddon was Luce's one and only true friend, but even that friendship dissolved by the time of Haddon's early death in 1929. From that point on, Luce did everything in his power to remove Haddon's name from the history of TIME. It was emotion coldness of this type that ran through this book in relation to Luce and the way he interacted with people. Even his affairs were seemingly bereft of warmth or true intimacy.
What punctuated this book as an exceptionally good bio the level of detail which was dispersed throughout. Supporting this tapestry was solid footnoting and indexing. I often found myself referring to earlier statements made and this was invaluable as I verified information.
While I can't say I liked Luce or had a lot of empathy for this son of missionaries to China, I found his meteoric and sustained success nothing less than fascinating. This book is especially interesting because Luce's career and publications present a detailed picture of 20th century print journalism.