Perry, James M. 1927- (James Moorhead Perry)
Perry, James M. 1927- (James Moorhead Perry)
Born August 21, 1927, in Elmira, NY; son of James W. (an insurance agent) and Margaret Perry; married Margaret Pancoast, September 18, 1954; children: Margaret, Katherine. Education: Trinity College, Hartford, CT, B.A. Religion: Episcopalian.
Writer, journalist, and historian. Member of editorial staff of Hartford Times, Hartford, CT, 1950-53, Philadelphia Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, 1953-63. National Observer, Washington, DC, political writer, beginning 1963. Senior political writer emeritus, Wall Street Journal. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1945-46; writer for Leatherneck, 1946.
Fourth Estate Award, National Press Club, 1997, for lifetime achievement in American journalism.
Barry Goldwater: A New Look at a Presidential Candidate, National Observer (Silver Spring, MD), 1964.
The New Politics: The Expanding Technology of Political Manipulation, C.N. Potter (New York, NY), 1968.
Us & Them: How the Press Covered the 1972 Election, C.N. Potter (New York, NY), 1973.
Arrogant Armies: Great Military Disasters and the Generals behind Them, Wiley (New York, NY), 1996.
A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready, Wiley (New York, NY), 2000.
Touched with Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles That Made Them, PublicAffairs (New York, NY), 2003.
A senior writer for the Wall Street Journal, James M. Perry has been covering politics since the 1950s. His works include Barry Goldwater: A New Look at a Presidential Candidate, The New Politics: The Expanding Technology of Political Manipulation, and Us & Them: How the Press Covered the 1972 Election, and other works discussing military history and the historical role of wartime journalism. Perry is the recipient of the prestigious Fourth Estate Award from the National Press Club for his work in American journalism.
Perry's 1996 work, Arrogant Armies: Great Military Disasters and the Generals behind Them, discusses military history, specifically military disasters and the generals who played significant roles in those disasters, from the mid-seventeenth century to the early twentieth century. "It should … be required reading for military cadets, politicians, and the bureaucrats who typically direct wars from a safe distance," commented a Kirkus Reviews critic. A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the work "will leave readers sated with confirmation of stupidity in high places."
Perry's 2000 book, A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready, discusses the emergence of American journalism during the Civil War. In this work, Perry explores the war and the press and the interaction between the two in his history of the self-proclaimed "Bohemian Brigade." David Walton, writing in the New York Times Book Review, commented: "The story Perry tells is not of the adventures of some jolly, rousting band; except for a few brief mentions, there is not much about the Bohemian Brigade … or how current the name was—the one conspicuous omission in an otherwise engross- ing and satisfying narrative." Brooks D. Simpson claimed in Library Journal that Perry "tells their story with vim and vigor, sometimes emulating his subjects' lively prose." In a Booklist review, Gilbert Taylor also lauded the work as "an entertaining chronicle that incidentally shows that being infuriated by journalists is nothing new."
In Touched with Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles That Made Them, Perry considers the military careers of five U.S. presidents who served in the Civil War and who later gained the country's highest office. In addition to the well-known Ulysses S. Grant, Perry also profiles James A. Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley, all of whom served in the Union Army. Harrison was a skilled and capable officer under William Tecumseh Sherman, striving to prove himself in the shadow of famous ancestor and U.S. president William Henry Harrison. Hayes fought in more than a dozen battles and was wounded four times. McKinley started his military career as an enlisted man and became a major by war's end; as a supply officer, he braved fire at the battle of Antietam while bringing up desperately needed provisions. Garfield, though devious, unlikable, and prone to trying to sabotage his superiors, was nonetheless an excellent officer and commander. Perry not only describes these men's military record but also recounts how they later exploited their military service, a practice known as "waving the bloody shirt," to gain political advantage over their opponents. Perry assembles his account using historical materials and numerous primary source documents, and his "quotations from the letters and journals of his subjects provide his text with a lively immediacy," observed Patricia Moore in a Kliatt review.
Library Journal reviewer Thomas J. Baldino found Perry's work to be "worthwhile reading for those who enjoy accounts of the Civil War or who wish to discover more about" those presidents who served during the storied Gilded Age. Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor commented that Perry offers readers the "regimental-level detail that buffs crave while dusting events with the skepticism that presidential electoral campaigning invites." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book a "solid, informative group biograph," and further remarked that Perry "knows his territory and his people, and has a readable journalistic style." Philip I. Bolte, writing in Armor, concluded that Touched with Fire is "an interesting and important contribution to Civil War literature and to the story of the United States presidency."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air Power History, spring, 2006, Dennis Berger, review of Touched with Fire: Five Presidents and the Civil War Battles That Made Them, p. 50.
Armor, January 1, 2005, Philip L. Bolte, review of Touched with Fire, p. 53.
Booklist, April 15, 2000, Gilbert Taylor, review of A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents, Mostly Rough, Sometimes Ready, p. 1520; September 1, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of Touched with Fire, p. 51.
Journal of Military History, July, 2005, review of Touched with Fire, p. 901.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1996, review of Arrogant Armies: Great Military Disasters and the Generals behind Them; July 1, 2003, review of Touched with Fire, p. 898.
Kliatt, March, 2005, Patricia Moore, review of Touched with Fire, p. 40.
Library Journal, April 1, 1996, David Lee Poremba, review of Arrogant Armies, p. 99; April 15, 2000, Brooks D. Simpson, review of A Bohemian Brigade, p. 108; August, 2003, Thomas J. Baldino, review of Touched with Fire, p. 104.
New York Times Book Review, May 7, 2000, David Walton, review of A Bohemian Brigade.
Publishers Weekly, July 28, 2003, review of Touched with Fire, p. 88.
Reference & Research Book News, November, 2003, review of Touched with Fire, p. 57.
Wall Street Journal, December 12, 2003, review of Touched with Fire, p. W9.
Washington Post Book World, January 11, 2004, Michael Bishop, "Fighting Words," review of Touched with Fire, p. 10.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (October 29, 2008), David R. Dean, review of Touched with Fire.
PublicAffairs Books Web site,http://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/ (March 9, 2008), biography of James M. Perry.