REVIEWSrnThe Missionary’srnSonrnby Allan CarlsonrnHenry R. Luce: A PoliticalrnPortrait of thernMan Who Createdrnthe American CenturyrnRobert E. HerzsteinrnNew York: Charles Scribner’s Sons;rn521 pp., $30.00rnHenry Luce both created and dominatedrna new form of national journalismrnbetween 1930 and 1960.rnFounder and editor-in-chief of Time,rnLife, and Fortune, he is best rememberedrnfor his 1941 Life essay “The AmericanrnCentury,” a robust call for the UnitedrnStates to assume worid power status.rnRobert Herzstein, Carolina ResearchrnProfessor of History at the University ofrnSouth Carolina, offers in Henry R. Luce:rnA Political Portrait of the Man Who Createdrnthe American Century a detailedrnanalysis of the ideological makeup andrnconsequences of this essay. The resultsrnare mixed. Able discussions of Luce’srnuse of his magazines to force politicalrnchange and of symbolically importantrninternal disputes among Time-Life editorsrnare marred by a limited understandingrnof his subject’s goals, a confusedrnpoint of view, and repeated genuflectionsrnto contemporary ideological demands.rn”America First” enthusiasts will find arnfull-blooded villain in Herzstein’s portraitrnof Henry Luce. As eariy as 1920,rnthe author reports, “Harry looked forwardrnto helping America make the woridrnsafe for democracy, Christianity, and freernenterprise.” Financially supported byrnthe wealthy Chicago widow Hattie Mc-rnCormick and boosted by his Yale andrnSkull and Bones credentials. Luce soughtrnto remake the worid. “Isolationism” wasrnhis regular foe, and he hoped to usernAmerican entry into a new Europeanrnwar to bury it, just as Lincoln had usedrnthe Civil War to bury slavery.rnOblivious to the conflict between arnregime of liberty and the demands of arndemocratic empire, Luce consistentlyrnpressed for American intervention in Europeanrnand Chinese affairs. For example,rnHerzstein details Luce’s considerablernrole in conceiving and selling to arn”reluctant” Franklin Roosevelt the “Destroyerrnfor Caribbean Bases” deal in thernsummer of 1940. Luce’s efforts in thosernmonths included close collaborationrnwith “the Century Croup,” a cabal ofrnNew York-based internationalists “whornbelieved in America’s global mission andrntheir own right and duty to influencernUnited States foreign policy” and whornincluded the Reverend Henry SloanernCoffin, playwright Robert Sherwood,rnand Union Theological Seminary PresidentrnHenry Pitney Van Dorn. They alsorninvolved timely production of the pro-interventionrnfilm The Ramparts We Watchrnby Luce’s “March of Time” division, privaternmeetings and secret deals with Rooseveltrnhimself, and the publishing of anrnunusually long essay in Time on “ThernStrategic Ceography of the CaribbeanrnSea,” which cited the need for bases thatrnonly British colonies could supply.rn’Lhe author shows how anticommunismrnsupplanted antifascism inrnLuce’s scheme in 1945, including a fairrnappraisal of Whittaker Chambers’ influencernin redirecting the American crusadernwithin the pages of Time. He offersrnextensive treatment of Luce’s obsessionrnwith China. Born there as the son of anrnAmerican missionary. Luce never waveredrnin his belief that Chiang Kai-shekrnrepresented China’s authentic soul andrnfuture. Among the fascinating detailsrnthat Herzstein brings to light are lecturesrngiven by Luce’s own father in 1941rn(which offered a far more accurate viewrnof both Chiang and his communistrnrivals), as well as internal Time-Lifernmemoranda deeply critical of the Nationalistrnregime, which Luce squelched.rnYet while sorting through Luce’s foreignrnpolicy agenda with some skill,rnHerzstein misses the related domesticrngoals implicit in Luce’s political vision.rnHe skirts over Luce’s fairiy deep attentionrnto the American problems of consumerismrnand religious conflict, whichrnled to a focus—respectively—on thern”family-centered” suburbs and the attemptedrnintegration of Catholicism intornthe American myth. As Luce once explained,rnthe goal of Life magazine was torninstill a sense of history and destiny inrnthe average American, to show “that ‘civilization’rnisn’t just a word—it’s a somethingrnthat ‘means you’!”rnPart of the problem derives fromrnHerzstein’s fairly overt hostility to religiousrnexpression of any sort. Foundrnthroughout the volume are sophomoricallyrnsecular passages such as: “[Luce’s]rnfather ruled, however gently, at home;rnthe headmaster at school; and Cod,rnof course, governed all.” Or: “WhenrnHarry delivered a sermon on China in arnchurch, proceeded and followed by processional,rnanthems, and organ postludes,rnhe would describe China. .. .”rnThe author’s abhorrence of a traditionalrnmorality pops up in other adrnhominem asides, including a descriptionrnof Luce’s 1945 visit to his birthplace:rn”After surviving this ordeal. Luce arrivedrnin Chengtu. There, he heard that thernChinese ran two whorehouses, one fairrnand one good. He made no inspections.rnInstead, Harry toured the college campus,rnwhere he took tea with some of thernstudents.” Still more disturbing are passagesrnsuch as this commentary on womenrneditors working at Time Inc. in thern1940’s: “Perhaps they were afraid ofrnbumping into a glass ceiling, whichrnLuce, like many contemporary employers,rnhad built but could not see. Ultimately,rnthings began to change, but notrnuntil many years of pressure had erodedrntraditional prejudices.”rnNot content to describe the Americarnhe discovered and observed, Henry Lucernworked with considerable success to remoldrnit into the image formed by a smallrnboy in a Chinese missionary compound.rnDespite kowtows to his colleagues in thernfaculty lounge, Herzstein’s book doesrnadd new details and insights to thernemerging portrait of Luce as ideologuernand architect of “the American Way.”rnAllan Carlson is president of ThernRockford Institute and publisher ofrnChronicles. He authored the entry onrnHenry Luce for The Dictionary ofrnAmerican Biography.rn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn