Wilner, Isaiah 1978-

views updated

Wilner, Isaiah 1978-


Born 1978. Education: Graduated from Yale University, 2000.


E-mail—[email protected]


Writer. Has worked as a consultant for Time.


Fifty best nonfiction books of the year citation, Providence Journal, for The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine.


The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to New York magazine.


Isaiah Wilner attended Yale University, where he first became interested in Briton Hadden, one of the founders of Time magazine. Hadden, despite his lofty achievements, is all but forgotten by history. As a student at Yale, Wilner worked on and eventually edited the Yale Daily News, and subsequently learned about Hadden, who had also served as the student paper's editor in his day. Hadden's portrait hung in the paper's offices, and Wilner found himself interested in the man's beginnings and in learning why he is not better known, at least by journalists. When he was assigned an "Art of Biography" paper for a history class, Wilner researched Hadden for the project, and that essay served as the foundation for the eventual biography, The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine.

As Wilner explains in his book, Hadden first had the idea for Time when he was growing up in Brooklyn Heights. A member of a staunch Republican family, Hadden was shocked upon first discussing a point of politics with a Democrat and learning the difference in their ideas. He announced to his parents that he planned to start a magazine when he was grown, one that provided definitive facts on all subjects rather than encouraging confusion regarding which side knew better. He went on to meet Henry Luce in boarding school, and the two became close friends, competitors, and colleagues, going on to attend Yale together, and eventually to jointly found Time. Wilner considers Hadden to have been the true editorial force behind the magazine, and states that it was only his early death at the age of thirty-one that truly gave Luce editorial control. Once Luce was in charge, the substance of the magazine changed as he used it to spread his own ideas. As to the reason Hadden's contributions were forgotten, Wilner explains in an interview with On the Media online: "Luce was heartbroken by the loss of Hadden, but within two weeks of Hadden's death, Luce had actually taken Hadden's name off the masthead of Time Magazine…. He kept a lot of the stock for himself, but he distributed many shares to his closest friends and allies, so that ensured his permanent control of the company. And then, for the next 19 years, he never said anything about Hadden."

Charles McGrath, reviewing the title for the New York Times Online, remarked that Wilner's effort "is very much a young man's production, with a sometimes ungainly prose style and an occasionally shaky grasp of history," but went on to note that "in other ways the book's ‘gee whiz’ quality seems not at all unsuited to its subject, not least in reminding us how young these fledgling editors were when they got started." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the book to be "a perceptive psychological study and cultural history, with a touch of ink-stained romanticism."



American Journalism Review, October 1, 2006, Carl Sessions Stepp, "Giving a Forgotten Visionary His Due," p. 92.

Booklist, October 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine, p. 7.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2006, review of The Man Time Forgot, p. 778.

Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2006, review of The Man Time Forgot, p. 193.


Isaiah Wilner Home Page,http://www.isaiahwilner.com (June 27, 2007).

New York Sun Online,http://www.nysun.com/ (October 9, 2006), Christopher Willcox, "Lost to the Sands of Time."

New York Times Online,http://www.nytimes.com/ (June 27, 2007), Charles McGrath, "The Time of Their Lives."

On the Media,http://www.onthemedia.org/ (October 20, 2006), author interview.

Yale Daily News Online,http://www.yaledailynews.com/ (June 27, 2007), Andrew Mangino, "Briton Hadden Put in the Spotlight."