Vox Populi: The O'Shaughnessy Files

By William O’Shaughnessy | Go to book overview

JAMES BRADY: AUTHOR-COLUMNIST

James Brady had a colorful life: Marine hero, publisher of
Women’s Wear Daily, one of the founders of “Page Six,”
author of many, many books. He was a regular at the
Four Seasons, where he sat most days among the moguls
whose lives he wrote about in many different publications,
including Ad Age and Crain’s New York BusinessyA
familiar figure in the Hamptons, Brady had a modest
house on one of the toniest streets in East Hampton. He
left us in 2009. Here is our interview with him from
December 2009.

WILLIAM O’SHAUGHNESSY (W.O.): With snow predicted for Sunday, let’s switch to the idyllic Hamptons before it arrives, to tony East Hampton and one of America’s great writers and journalists: James Brady. Brady writes about press barons, beautiful women, and landed gentry, but best of all, about his beloved former colleagues, the Marines. Brady, you’re in the middle of a national tour for your new book, Why Marines Fight. Why do Marines fight?

JAMES BRADY (J.B.): Bill, whether it’s “good” wars like World War II or lousy wars like Vietnam and Iraq, the Marine Corps always seems to do very well. So I decided to plumb their motivation. Why do they fight and do it so well? I contacted about fifty combat Marines, and I asked them some very simple questions. Some were famous: Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in New York; Jerry Coleman, a second baseman for the New York Yankees; Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. And others were just grunts. Machine-gunners seemed to be especially talkative.

I was on the Today Show with Matt Lauer, and this past Wednesday night I went to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., and spoke to a lot of old generals, admirals, and colonels. And as a former first lieutenant, it was wonderful to say,

-129-

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