All Governments Lie

By: Myra MacPherson, published 2006, Scribner; paperback 2008, Scribner.

Winner, 2007 Sperber Award for Biography Finalist

2007 Pen-USA Literary Award A Best Book

2006 – Boston Globe; Rocky Mountain News best book.

A Best Book 2006 Book List Starred reviews Kirkus, Publishers Weekly

Boasting equal parts scholarship and style, “”All Governments Lie”” is a highly readable, groundbreaking, and timely look at I. F. Stone — one of America’s most independent and revered journalists, whose work carries the same immediacy it did almost a half century ago, highlighting the ever-present need for dissenting voices.In the world of Washington political journalism, notorious for trading independence for access, I. F. “Izzy” Stone was so unique as to be a genuine wonder. Always skeptical — “All Governments Lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out,” he memorably quipped — Stone was ahead of the pack on the most pivotal twentieth-century trends: the rise of Hitler and Fascism, disastrous Cold War foreign policies, covert actions of the FBI and CIA, the greatness of the Civil Rights movement, the horror of Vietnam, the strengths and weaknesses of the antiwar movement, the disgrace of Iran-contra, and the class greed of Reaganomics. His constant barrage against J. Edgar Hoover earned him close monitoring by the FBI from the Great Depression through the Vietnam War, and even an investigation for espionage during the fifties. After making his mark on feisty New York dailies and in “The Nation” — scoring such scoops as the discovery of American cartels doing business with Nazi Germany — Stone became unemployable during the dark days of McCarthyism. Out of desperation he started his four-page “I. F. Stone’s Weekly,” which ran from 1953 to 1971. The first journalist to label the Gulf of Tonkin affair a sham excuse to escalate the Vietnam War, Stone garnered worldwide fans, was read in the corridors of power, and becamewealthy. Later, the “world’s oldest living freshman” learned Greek to write his bestseller “The Trial of Socrates.” Here, for the first time, acclaimed journalist and author Myra MacPherson brings the legendary Stone into sharp focus. Rooted in fifteen years of research, this monumental biography includes information from newly declassified international documents and Stone’s unpublished five-thousand-page FBI file, as well as personal interviews with Stone and his wife, Esther; with famed modern thinkers; and with the best of today’s journalists. It illuminates the vast sweep of turbulent twentieth-century history as well as Stone’s complex and colorful life. The result is more than a masterful portrait of a remarkable character; it’s a far-reaching assessment of journalism and its role in our culture.