Concasseur [ePub]

by Otto Friedrich


Otto Friedrich was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard, where his father was a political science professor. He took a while to find his literary stride. His career took him from the copy desk at Stars and Stripes to a top writing job at Time, with stops in between with the United Press in London and Paris and with The Daily News and Newsweek in New York.

But it was the seven years he spent with The Saturday Evening Post, including four as its last managing editor, that established Mr. Friedrich as a writer to be reckoned with.

When the venerable magazine folded in 1969, Mr. Friedrich, who had seen the end coming and kept meticulous notes, delineated its demise in a book, 'Decline and Fall," which was published by Harper & Row the next year. Widely hailed as both an engaging and definitive account of corporate myopia, the book, which won a George Polk Memorial Award, is still used as a textbook by both journalism and business schools, his daughter said.

From then on, Mr. Friedrich, who had tried his hand as a novelist in the 1950's and 60's and written a series of children's books with his wife, Priscilla Broughton, wrote nonfiction, turning out an average of one book every two years.

They include "Clover: A Love Story," a 1979 biography of Mrs. Henry Adams; "City of Nets: Hollywood in the 1940's" (1986); "Glenn Gould: A Life and Variations," (1989); "Olympia: Paris in the Age of Manet," (1992), and "Blood and Iron," a study of the Von Moltke family of Germany that is being published this fall.

He wrote his books, as well as reams of freelance articles and book reviews, while holding down a full-time job with Time that required him to write in a distinct style far different from the one he used at home.

Mr. Friedrich, who joined Time as a senior editor in 1971 and retired in 1990 after a decade as a senior writer, wrote 40 major cover stories, the magazine said yesterday, as well as hundreds of shorter pieces, all of them produced on an old-fashioned Royal typewriter that he was given special dispensation to continue using long after the magazine converted to computers.

Mrs. Lucas, portraying her father as a New England moralist whose life and literary interests reflected his disenchantment with much of 20th-century culture, noted that his aptitude for anachronism did not end with typewriters. "We have five rotary telephones in this house," she said.

In addition to pursuing his eclectic interests into print, Mr. Friedrich also had a knack for turning his own life into art. When he tried to grow roses, the record of his failure became a book, "The Rose Garden" (1972). When relatives were stricken with schizophrenia, his frustration drove him to produce an exhaustive study of insanity, "Going Crazy" (1976).

07.09.2010

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