Monday, December 24, 2007

The Man Time Forgot eBook edition

My Dad waited all week for the Saturday mail.  

He  made a special trip to the post office just to pick it up.  We could forget about his participation in any family (or other) event on Saturday night.  He was busy; reading Time Magazine. 

By the time I was ten I spent Sunday reading it from cover to cover. It was from Time Magazine that I learned vocabulary and an my ideas about what America was all about.   Time was not only a powerful source of information but more importantly a touch of the "good ole USA" for us expats.  Obviously, Time has a special place in my heart. 

Over the years I have read several biographies of Henry Luce and Clare Booth Luce.  I even read  a history of Time. And yet I couldn't have told you anything about Briton Hadden.  Most people can't.

haddenTurns out he was the CO-FOUNDER of Time Magazine.  More accurately, Time was his brain child, and he co-opted Luce into working with him.  The Man Time Forgot is the story of Briton Hadden and the beginnings of Time, Life, Fortune and Sports Illustrated.

This is a guy to love -- mercurial, bon vivant, creative, rebellious, driven and almost certainly alcoholic.  His brain was a whirlwind of activity and ideas.  He was the epitome of the Jazz Age.  He left an indelible mark on Time and American journalism in general.  He disappeared almost with out a trace.  And yet, we still see his influence in our daily language with words like socialite.  Until this book he was no where to be seen in American literature, a nearly invisible but important force.

Isaiah Wilner had unprecedented access the the Time archives and his meticulous research brings Hadden to life. 

This is a great read and a wonderful example of what a biography is all about!

The official stuff:

Here is the tale of The Man Time Forgot: the story of Briton Hadden, the genius behind Time magazine, and his betrayal by Henry R. Luce. The true story of their tortured friendship has never before been told.

Friends, collaborators, and childhood rivals, Hadden and Luce are not yet twenty-five when they start the nation's first newsmagazine at the outset of the Roaring Twenties. Millionaires at thirty, together they lay the foundation for a media empire. But their partnership is explosive and their rivalry ferocious, inspired by envy as well as love. When Hadden dies at the age of thirty-one, Luce begins to bury the legacy of the giant he was never able to best.

In this groundbreaking biography, Isaiah Wilner offers the first full account of the birth of Time. He paints a fascinating portrait of a man whose mind dreams of everything, from the weekly newsmagazine to Life, Sports Illustrated, and the radio quiz show, and he presents a major reappraisal of the most significant media figure of the twentieth century.

The story travels from the tomb of Yale's storied secret society, Skull and Bones, to high-society Europe and South America, following the friendship of two brilliant and opposite souls who inspire one another to the pinnacle of earthly success. The young men emerge from the crucible of the Great War with an idea—Hadden's idea—that shapes the way Americans will think about the world. By making the news accessible, and amusing readers as it informs them, Hadden's Time sets the course for modern journalism into the twenty-first century.

Isaiah Wilner brings to life this remarkable story in The Man Time Forgot, a book as stylish, passionate, and provocative as Briton Hadden himself.

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