Book Reviews -- the Press, the Rosenbergs, and the Cold War by John Neville

By Stevens, John D. | Journalism History, Spring 1996 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- the Press, the Rosenbergs, and the Cold War by John Neville


Stevens, John D., Journalism History


Neville, John. The Press, the Rosenbergs, and The Cold War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1995. 224 pp. $55.

Have you ever longed to read an account of a significant event in American history written from a communication history perspective? An author who applied what theories we have developed? Who cited the landmarks in our pantheon and not limit himself to "general" history? Lord knows, I have]

John Neville has provided much a book, the outgrowth of his graduate study at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. It is a careful recapitulation of the most important espionage case of the Cold War era, the prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for providing details of the atomic bomb to Russia. The book encapsulates the myriad details of the complex case without losing its focus, which is the performance of the press.

Each phase of the case is examined in a sample of leading newspapers, which not only includes the New York dailies but those in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Louisville. In addition, Time magazine and radical publications are consulted. Neville is not satisfied to cite shortcomings and inadequacies in stories; he also explains the possible reasons. Most of the grievous mistakes he traces to media dependence on sources, especially the Justice Department and the prosecution attorneys. …

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