Evans, Harold 1928–

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Evans, Harold 1928–

(Harold Matthew Evans)

PERSONAL: Born June 28, 1928, in Manchester, England; son of Frederick (a rail driver) and Mary Evans; married Enid Parker (a teacher), August, 15, 1953 (marriage ended); married Tina Brown (a magazine editor); children: (first marriage) Ruth, Katherine, Michael, (second marriage) George, Isabel. Education: University of Durham, B.A. (honors), 1952, M.A., 1962; also studied at University of Chicago and Stanford University as a Harkness fellow. Religion: Church of England. Hobbies and other interests: Table tennis, skiing, music, writing.

ADDRESSES: HomeNew York, NY. Agent—Ed Victor Ltd., 6 Bayley St., Bedford Square, London WC1B 3HB, England.

CAREER: Ashton-u-Lyne Reporter, Ashton-u-Lyne, England, reporter, 1943–46, 1949; Manchester Evening News, Manchester, England, assistant editor, 1952–56, 1958–61; Northern Echo, Darlington, England, editor, 1961–66; North of England Newspaper Co., editor-in-chief, 1963–66; Sunday Times, London, England, chief assistant to editor, 1966, editor, 1967–81; Times, London, England, editor, 1981; Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, NY, publisher, 1984; Condé Nast Traveler, founding editor, 1984–86; U.S. News & World Report, Washington, DC, editorial director and vice chairman, 1986–90; Random House Trade Publishing Group, New York, NY, president and publisher, 1990–97; New York Daily News, U.S. News & World Report, Atlantic Monthly, and Fast Company magazines and newspapers, New York, NY, editorial director and vice-chairman, 1997–. member of National Council for the Training of Journalists; consultant to International Press Institute Abroad, 1960–. Military service: Royal Air Force, 1943–64.

MEMBER: Ski Club of Great Britain, Garrick Club, Royal Automobile Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Hannen Swaffer International Publishing Corporation awards, campaigning journalist of the year, 1967, journalist of the year, 1972, and editor of the year, 1982; decorated Knight Bachelor, 2004; lifetime achievement award, International Center of Photography.


The Active Newsroom, International Press Institute (Zurich, Switzerland), 1962.

Editing and Design: A Five-Volume Manual of English, Typography, and Layout, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (New York, NY), Volume I: Newsman's English, 1971, Volume II: Handling Text, 1973, Volume III: News Headlines, 1973, Volume IV: Pictures on a Page, 1978, Volume V: Newspaper Design, 1973.

(With Brian Jackman and Mark Ottaway) We Learned to Ski, Collins (London, England), 1974, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1975, revised edition, 1979.

The Freedom of the Press: The Half-Free Press, Hart-Davis MacGibbon (London, England), 1974.

(With Edwin Taylor) Pictures on a Page: Photojournalism and Picture Editing, Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 1978.

Front Page History: Events of Our Century that Shook the World, with event summaries and picture research by Hugh Barty King, Quiller Press (London, England), 1984, Salem House (Salem, NH), 1984.

Good Times, Bad Times, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

(With Gail Buckland and Kevin Baker) The American Century, Knopf (New York, NY), 1998.

(Author of commentary) Gail Buckland, Shots in the Dark: True Crime Pictures, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2001.

War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict from the Crimea to Iraq, Newseum (Arlington, VA), 2001.

(With Gail Buckland and David Lefer) They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2005.

Author of television scripts. Contributor to Punch, Guardian, Times, and other publications.

ADAPTATIONS: They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators was made into a PBS special.

SIDELIGHTS: Harold Evans is a British newspaperman and journalist who traveled extensively in the United States beginning in the 1950s and wrote frequently about those adventures, most notably in the book he coauthored with Gail Buckland and Kevin Baker called The American Century, which Evans dubbed "history for browsers." At the heart of the book, which profiles hundreds of individuals, many of them immigrants, and which contains over 900 photographs, is Evans's admiration for the country's vast legal and social freedoms, which created a country unlike any other, even though conflict (particularly in the form of the civil rights movement) was ever present. Ron Fletcher, writing in the online magazine BookPage, observed that "a central paradox in Evans's telling of America's century involves the degree to which the nation's everevolving identity oscillates between prizing the individual and the collective, somehow accommodating both." In recounting the major people and events that shaped U.S. life from 1889 to 1989 (the end of the Cold War), "Evans employs a tolerant, skeptical, [and] dispassionate tone" as well as significant "intellectual acuity," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and Robin Knight, writing in Time International, commented that "he writes with a robust, stinging conviction about the downtrodden and about ordinary Americans, whose stories he illuminates with a true reporter's gift for telling detail."

Evans continued his appreciation of American ingenuity in They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators, which profiles seventy individuals who transformed various industries through their inventions. In addition to easy choices such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, also included are Malcolm McLean, who created the standardized shipping container and thereby transforming international trade, and Ida Rosenthal, who made corsets a thing of the past with her Maidenform bra. The book was paired with a corresponding four-part PBS series. Gilbert Taylor, writing in Booklist, praised the book as "eclectic in its range of subjects," and a reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "Evans shows innovation as both a product of and a contributor to the grand apparatus of American society."

In his career as a journalist, Evans wrote for many newspapers beginning in the 1940s, served as the editor of the London Sunday Times from 1967 until 1981, and moved to the United States permanently in 1984, where he was the editorial director of U.S. News & World Report and later became president and publisher of Random House. In 2004, he was knighted by Great Britain's Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace for his service to journalism.



Russell, Leonard, Phillip Knightly, and Harold Hobson, Pearl of Days, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1972.


American Heritage, September, 1998, Kevin Baker, interview with Harold Evans, p. 90.

Booklist, August, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of The American Century, p. 1916; October 1, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators, p. 290.

Commentary, February, 1999, Walter A. McDougall, review of The American Century, p. 70.

Library Journal, October 1, 1998, Karl Helicher, review of The American Century, p. 110; April 15, 1999, Kent R. Rasmussen, review of The American Century, p. 165; October 15, 2004, Dale Farris, review of They Made America, p. 72.

Publishers Weekly, December 1, 1997, Jim Milliot, "Evans Leaving Random; Godoff Takes His Place," p. 10; September 14, 1998, review of The American Century, p. 55; October 8, 2001, review of Shots in the Dark: True Crime Pictures, p. 59; August 18, 2003, review of War Stories: Reporting in the Time of Conflict from the Crimea to Iraq, p. 72; September 13, 2004, review of They Made America, p. 68.

Time, October 18, 2004, Daniel Kadlec, review of They Made America, p. 88.

Time International, November 9, 1998, Robin Knight, review of The American Century, p. 83.


BookPage, http://www.bookpage.com/ (October 26, 2006), Ron Fletcher, "Harold Evans Defines Freedom, American Style."

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