The Murrow Boys

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

This is the fascinating story of eleven talented correspondents who, under Edward R. Murrow’s direction, transformed the way America received its news. What was probably the most talented group of journalists ever assembled—Cecil Brown, Winston Burdett, Charles Collingwood, William Downs, Thomas Grandin, Richard C. Hottelet, Larry LeSueur, Eric Sevareid, William L. Shirer, Howard K. Smith, and the lone female among the “boys”—Mary Marvin Breckinridge—virtually invented radio journalism as they covered World War II from Hitler’s invasion of Austria to the beaches at Normandy.

Much of this reporting was done at great risk to their lives. Murrow was on the air while German bombs fell on London; Eric Sevareid bailed out of a crippled airplane flying the famous “Hump” over the Himalayas; Cecil Brown was aboard the British cruiser Repulse when it was sunk by Japanese aircraft; and Larry LeSueur was in the second wave on Utah Beach on D day.

Under Murrow’s expert guidance, CBS News consistently scooped their print competition on some of the biggest stories of the war. However, the dominance of radio news would not last. With the incredibly rapid spread of television into millions of American homes, the golden days of radio journalism soon ended. Some of the “boys” were able to make the transition to television, but almost all of them disliked it, with its greater emphasis on entertaining rather than informing.

For those raised on Cable News Network (CNN) and talk radio, the authors remind the reader of what is missing with the loss of the great legacy of these giants of broadcast journalism. The narrative is always dramatic and moving, and this book is highly recommended.