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I.F. Stone Biographies

All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone
by Myra MacPherson

Myra MacPhersonWinner, Ann M. Sperber award for Best Biography, 2007.

View video footage here of I.F. Stone's son, Jeremy Stone, speaking at the ceremony in appreciation of Myra MacPherson's work.

Finalist, PEN USA Literary Award for Nonfiction, 2007.
Boston Globe’s Best Nonfiction of 2006
Rocky Mountain News Best Book of 2006
Booklist, American Library Association: One of top 10 books, mid-2006 to mid-2007.  

"If you want to know what journalism was before its job became entertainment, and if you want to know how journalists lived before they became courtiers, Myra MacPherson's biography of Izzy Stone is the book to read."
—Martin Kaplan, USC Annenberg School for Communication

"I.F. Stone is a name unfamiliar to many, perhaps most, university students.  Myra MacPherson's information-filled biography would remedy that gap.  At least as important, reading about the techniques Stone used to become a great investigative journalist and a great citizen patriot would surely inspire students to become engaged in society."
— Steven Weinberg, author, professor at University of Missouri school of journalism, former director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.

"This is a superb biography of an extraordinary man.  It is almost impossible to understand the mid-20th century without understanding the work, the life and the milieu of Izzy Stone."
—Roger Wilkins, award winning author and Clarence J. Robinson Professor of History and American Culture, George Mason University

"A Voice, A Brain and a Notebook. The best blogger ever died in 1989 at the age of 81. That's the conclusion I reached reading Myra MacPherson's wonderful biography of the great rebel journalist, I.F. Stone...The newspapers of his era could have learned a lot from Stone, as MacPherson--herself an accomplished Washington journalist--so effectively chronicles."
—Dan Froomkin, The Neiman Reports, Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, review from NiemanWatchdog.org

"At last!  Myra MacPherson has offered us the definitive life and times of the most independent journalist of our epoch-I.F. Stone. Known as Izzy, he revealed to us in his tiny four-page weekly not the "objectivity" of the Official Word but a hard truth from the bottom up. A classic: it is mandatory for all young journalists."
—Studs Terkel

"Myra MacPherson is a brilliant writer who has written a great book--"All Governments Lie" about a journalistic idol--Izzy Stone.  Would that he were alive today to lead our country to its greatest ideals again."
—Helen Thomas, Hearst newspapers columnist

"An impassioned book about a passionate man living through years of fire and fear, who fought cowardice with courage. MacPherson's I. F. Stone is a dramatic biography with a happy ending, the story of a man who became an outcast for his ideals and lived to receive the applause of those who once shunned him.”
—Nicholas von Hoffman, author of A Devil's Dictionary of Business

"The right book at the right time. It is not only the fascinating story of an American original, it is a sophisticated history of what went wrong between American journalism and American government."
—Richard Reeves, author of President Reagan: The Triumph of Imagination

 “I loved every page of this book.  My God, what fabulous stories – newspaper stories, political stories, world history and the greatest tabloid there ever was, all crammed into one life. And above all what a hero -- indomitable, learned, funny and fearless.  I learned more stuff I didn’t know – that Izzy Stone solved the murder of George Polk, that when his paper told him he couldn’t cover the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, he quit and hitchhiked to Boston. What a combination of integrity and learning.  He really did have a wonderful time.  Now is the time for all good journalists to read this book and remember what it is all about.”
—Molly Ivins, author of Who Let the Dogs In

"Izzy Stone comes as close to living up to the rhetoric of free speech and a free press as anyone in the 20th century. His story is told here in the context of rich history of his time. This book is an important contribution to the current debate about the future and the nature of journalism and why the public as well as journalists should be involved in that debate."
—Bill Kovach, Chairman, The Committee of Concerned Journalists

 “Stone remains enormously relevant today, in an era of too much journalistic acquiescence.  A newspaperman for decades, he became ‘an eclectic craftsman,’ with a reformist and intellectual bent…’Izzy,’as he was called, emerges as a challenging, complex fellow, an ebullient workaholic.  But his legacy was earned by a willingness to read documents in depth and apply his eclectic, passionate intelligence—and MacPherson brings all this to life in this terrific and timely book.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“MacPherson is fearless herself in considering such contradictions as a muckraking millionaire, delivering a welcome and readable study of the influential journalist, ever missed.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This biography interweaves [Stone’s] life and journalism within the context of the social and political era, providing an engaging overview of a complex man who challenged his contemporaries. Many of the political issues Stone confronted will resonate with today's readers.”
Library Journal, starred review

“MacPherson's book is highly recommended partly for the breadth and depth of her research about the public and private Stone. It is also remarkable for its hybrid nature…a biography with an unusually rich context.”
—Chicago Sun-Times

“[A] sweeping biography.  All Governments Lie skillfully covers not just the details of Stone’s life but also how his career fit into the evolution of alternative journalism.”
—Mother Jones

“…timely.  As MacPherson documents in this valuable book, [Stone’s] life’s work was not only advocating liberal causes but also exposing government lies and deceits, and attacking attempts by the government to intimidate and silence its critics. Her work is not only a biography of Stone but a detailed history of government attempts to manipulate public opinion through much of the twentieth century.”
—Columbia Journalism Review

“Myra MacPherson's lovely biography of the man, All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone, is ideally timed for the moment when reporters in Washington are once again rightly (and too late) flailing themselves….I am utterly sure that the recent allegations from the crackpot, Ann Coulterish right, of his having been on the KGB payroll is false. MacPherson rips the ‘evidence’ of these people to shreds.”
—Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair

“Ms. MacPherson’s biography affords a more nuanced view of Stone’s long career.  Despite her undisguised admiration—and her sympathy for Stone’s anti-anti-communist position – she doesn’t pass over or sugarcoat his book on the Korean war…Among the more engaging parts of “All Governments Lie!” is Ms. MacPherson’s account of Stone’s early career.  He seemed born to the newspaper trade in the way Heifitz was born to the fiddle.” 
—The Wall Street Journal

“In All Governments Lie!: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone, former Washington Post reporter Myra MacPherson has not only done a splendid job of profiling Stone but has weaved into her narrative a penetrating social and political history of the times in which he lived.” 
—Sacramento Bee

“As the likewise eminent Myra MacPherson shows in her new book, All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone, the little pariah in suit and tie took on the nation's worst foreign enemies (Hitler, Stalin) as well as its own mendacious leaders, and carved out a piece of the American dream for his family in the process. Scholar, author, gadfly, entrepreneur, the I.F. Stone so vividly celebrated in MacPherson's book made a success, even a celebrity, of himself by remaining an outsider.”
—Indianapolis Star

“Radical journalist I.F. Stone spent his career challenging government deception and press complicity. This new biography shows why his legacy matters.
[A] wonderful new biography. MacPherson devoted more than a decade to creating this biography with exceptional rigor, devotion and fairness. Much as Stone might have done, she sets his tale in richly detailed context, with a proper emphasis on his maverick stance against the establishment press.”
—Joe Conason, Salon

“MacPherson is tireless and engaging in making her claim for Stone as a sui generis muckraker.”
—Washington Post

“ [A] lively, refreshing biography of oh-that-we-could-clone-him Stone.  In this intensely partisan time, Stone's example is both useful and attainable…A new generation needs details about Eugene V. Debs, H. L. Mencken , and George Seldes, and a volume impressive enough to be required reading in American journalism classes. MacPherson succeeds with a breadth and depth of detail that would make her subject cackle with delight.”
—Boston Globe

“Myra MacPherson's All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone is a work equal to its subject -- carefully and thoroughly reported, keenly thought out, by turns judicious and appropriately sympathetic. One of the admirable things about McPherson's biography is the way in which it does equal justice to Stone's life and his work. One of MacPherson's singular contributions in her book is to reconnect Stone to the indigenous American tradition of radical journalism that begins with muckrakers.”
—Los Angeles Times

“MacPherson has written a  biography under the Stone-quoting title 'All Governments Lie,'" in order to demonstrate that Stone and his journalistic achievements do have something to offer....the relevance to our own time is hard to escape, given our own recent experiences with disastrous policies, official mendacities and a sometimes error-prone and manipulated press." ; "MacPherson...paints the political landscape in which Stone came of age..." ; “'All governments lie,' Stone’s maxim, ought to be plastered across every journalist’s desk.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Thorough and honest.”
—The New Yorker

"Stone's whole life was a peculiarly American story of self-creation--Rocky for left-wing intellectuals. In her fine and useful biography, veteran reporter Myra  MacPherson traces...the triuimphant arc of the man....MacPherson's biography shows just how central the historical crucible of the early twentieth century was in forming Stone's flinty left-wing values....it's one of MacPherson's virtues that she's clear about the nature of his fellow traveling."    
—John Powers, The Nation

“MacPherson lovingly recounts Stone's journalistic and political journey. The Stone that emerges in McPherson's pages is charismatic and aggravating, endearing and insufferable.”
—Chicago Tribune

“Despite its size, this book is not a door stop—it’s a brain stop. Read it and learn. "
—Gore Vidal

“The book acknowledges Izzy the iconoclast's minor shortcomings and vanities even as it celebrates and captures his prescience, his independence, his moral perspective ("He had no master but his conscience", his humor, and his gift for the apt phrase. Her impressive book, 16 years in the making, draws on but goes far beyond the two previous Stone volumes. All Governments Lie! makes everlastingly clear that the last thing I.F. Stone would ever be arrested for is serving as anybody's agent but his own."
—Victor Navasky, Woodrow Wilson Quarterly

“Lively and well-researched. More than a biography, it's a study of the press and government.”
USA Today

“A refreshing, comprehensive life of the one-man truth battalion.”
Boston Globe

“A book filled with fascinating stories from those who both revered and criticized Stone.”
New Criterion

This look at the legendary newsman who routinely mined news embedded deep in government documents captures Stone's zest for the business and his bravery in persevering, despite years of being shadowed by the FBI.
Rocky Mountain News

"If you want to know what journalism was before its job became entertainment, and if you want to know how journalists lived before they became courtiers, Myra MacPherson's biography of Izzy Stone is the book to read."
—Martin Kaplan, USC Annenberg School for Communication

"The book on Izzy is first rate!  A terrific read, well written and well organized."
—James R. Dickenson, author of We Few: The Marine Corps 400 in the War Against Japan

 “Where is Izzy Stone when we need him?  His spirit is back in ‘All Governments Lie,’ a powerful, passionate biography of the courageous writer who defied Official Washington and inspired several generations of journalists.  Myra MacPherson, a pioneer in the art of cutting-edge profiles, is brilliant in evoking his life and times.”
—Curtis Wilkie

 “Thanks to Myra MacPherson, we finally have a nuanced and sophisticated biography of one of the great legends of American journalism. One can only hope that it wakes up some of the lapdog reporters in today’s Washington press corps and reminds them, as I.F. Stone taught us during the Cold War, that ‘all governments lie.’”
—Craig Unger, author of House of Bush, House of Saud