Toledano, Ralph de 1916-2007

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Toledano, Ralph de 1916-2007


See index for CA sketch: Born August 17, 1916, in Tangier, Morocco; died of cancer, February 3, 2007, in Bethesda, MD. Editor and author. Toledano was a conservative journalist who wrote for magazines and news services and also published nonfiction, novels, and poetry. A 1938 graduate of Columbia University, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and was sent to Cornell University to learn Italian. At the time, Toledano already spoke Spanish and French; when the army learned of his strong anti-Communist views, they dropped him from the Italian program and assigned him to the Office of Strategic Services. He was an artillery gunner for the rest of World War II. Having already worked as an editor for Lex Publications and for the New Leader before the war, Toledano returned to New York City and found a job as managing editor of Plain Talk. He was an editor for Newsweek through the 1950s. It was while there that Toledano, who had once considered himself fairly liberal, became more staunchly conservative. The turning point came while he covered the Alger Hiss spy trial in 1950. The journalist was strongly influenced by another editor, Whittaker Chambers, who was one of Hiss's main accusers. Toledano came to believe, as Chambers did, that Communism was a serious threat to America, and he also became a staunch Republican supporter. Toledano backed Richard Nixon from the 1950s through his years as senator, vice president, and president. He later revealed that he advised Nixon to destroy the tape recordings about the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's downfall, though the president did not listen. The journalist would later go on to write Nixon (1956; revised edition, 1960) and One Man Alone: Richard Nixon (1969). After 1960, Toledano worked for various news services, including King Features, National News-Research, and Copley News Service. He was also a contributing editor to the National Review from 1960 until 2001, and founded the National Review Bulletin in 1955. As a writer, Toledano wrote biographies, histories, and fiction and poetry. Among his other nonfiction works are Spies, Dupes and Diplomats (1952), The Greatest Plot in History (1963), J. Edgar Hoover: The Man in His Time (1973), and Hit and Run: The Ralph Nader Story (1974). His novels include Day of Reckoning (1955) and Devil Take Him (1980), and he wrote the verse collections Poems: You and I (1979) and The Apocrypha of Limbo (1994). His dealings with consumer advocate Nader led to legal difficulties for Toledano. In 1975, in reaction to Toledano's accusation that Nader had falsified information in a report about the dangerous flaws in the Corvair, Nader sued. Toledano spent his life savings defending himself in the case, which was settled out of court. He also was the ghost writer for the autobiography of Mark Felt, The FBI Pyramid: From the Inside (1979). When the former FBI official later revealed he was the secret source for journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the Watergate scandal, Toledano sued in 2006, saying he would not have accepted just ten thousand dollars for his work had he known who Felt really was. The case was not resolved at the time of his death. His last publications include Cry Havoc: The Secret War on America (2006) and the edited Mark Twain on Practically Anything (2001).



Chicago Tribune, February 8, 2007, Section 3, p. 8.

New York Times, February 6, 2007, p. C20.

Washington Post, February 7, 2007, p. B7.