"Only now that I have read Mary McNeil’s wonderful book do I understand how truly great Wallace Carroll was. He stood for the greatest values of daily newspapers, as reporter, editor and publisher. Anyone who cares about those values will enjoy this book. I feel lucky to have read it."
–Donald Graham, former publisher, The Washington Post
"Wallace Carroll was a man of great charm and intelligence as well as a great twentieth-century journalist reporting on some of the most critical moments in American history—during World War II a United Press reporter on the rooftops of London as German bombs exploded all around him, to serving as publisher of a newspaper in a southern city bursting with provincial pride and economic and racial disparities. Wally brought the same impeccable critical standards to local issues, which were also American in scope—the arts, school desegregation, the Viet Nam war, and the environment. Carroll’s life is a model for our time as we search for our own local heroes.
"McNeil, one of Carroll’s students at Wake Forest University, has done her homework well: she shows us what mattered in his life, and what should matter in ours."
–Edwin G. Wilson, former Provost, Wake Forest University
"For me, this book was a discovery of a remarkable but undersung life, a well-researched and captivating read about a man I’m now delighted to have encountered through this memorable book. Carroll’s story is the kind of romance that persuades many of us to be drawn to journalism as a profession. As a globe-trotting, unflappable observer and interpreter, he had a nose for what was important, and he somehow managed to be on the scene of some of history’s major turning points.
"This book is for anyone interested in history, journalism, or how to live a life dedicated to public service. It is also a romp through the 1900s, a century that suffered two world wars, the invention and use of nuclear weapons, the advent of digital technologies and the global internet."
–Mark Nelson, former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and head of the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy
"Now, about this magnificent book… [Mary McNeil] has the important capacity to put the reader right in the center of the action, whether it’s stories about the Nazis’ bombing in London or the newsroom of the Winston-Salem Journal when the Pulitzer Prize announcement was made.
"I do hope this book finds its way into the marketplace where people who care about American journalism can see what [McNeil has] produced—it’s a real gift!"
–Garrett Mitchell, The Mitchell Report
"With crisp prose, fine research and a clear moral purpose, Mary McNeil shines a light on Wallace Carroll and in so doing, powerfully illuminates the current troubles of journalism—particularly the loss of local news. To today's journalists, Wallace is less well known than his son, John, who became the editor of the Los Angeles Times, but he is no less worthy of recognition. McNeil's thoughtful and well executed study should go a long way toward giving this exemplary journalist his due."
–Margaret Sullivan, former Media Columnist, The Washington Post
"This well-told story of a gentleman journalist is a trip back to a time when that phrase did not strike most Americans as an oxymoron, and when vibrant local newspapers were both causes and effects of national vigor."
–George F. Will, Columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner
"Mary Llewellyn McNeil's perceptive biography of Wallace Carroll shows how one self-effacing editor set the standard for quality coverage from London during wartime, and then from Washington and the South in the 1950s and 1960s. The Wallace Carroll playbook, with its insistence on thoroughness and fairness, continues to inform generations of journalists as we confront increased economic pressures and propagandists bent on undermining trust in our work."
–Norman Pearlstine, Executive Editor (retired), Los Angeles Times
"Wallace Carroll was one of the great journalists of the 20th century. He covered Europe and the Soviet Union as they braced for World War II; ran the New York Times Washington bureau for Scotty Reston; was editor and publisher of the Winston-Salem Journal, where his editorial on getting out of Vietnam helped persuade President Johnson not to seek reelection. This extraordinary life of an exceptionally wise man is captured in Mary McNeil’s compelling and vivid biography, Century’s Witness. Every working journalist today should read it."
–Al Hunt, former bureau chief, The Wall Street Journal and columnist, Bloomberg News
"Mary Llewellyn McNeil’s warm telling of [Carroll’s] extraordinary life is the best roadmap I know of if we aim to restore journalism’s power to inform and persuade. Virtually every page has something important to say about integrity in journalism. And on top of all that, vivid first-hand accounts of some of the most consequential events and people of the 20th Century, from the London Blitz, Pearl Harbor, and Vietnam to Churchill, Stalin, Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson—and in the story of his life with Peggy, one of the best love stories you could ever hope to read."
–Jon Sawyer, Executive Director, the Pulitzer Center
"With the publication of Century's Witness: The Extraordinary Life of Journalist Wallace Carroll, biographer Mary Llewellyn McNeil has an exceptionally well written and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover. While also available for journalism students, academia, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject in a paperback edition... Century's Witness is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library American Biography collections in general, and Journalism supplemental studies reading lists in particular."
–Midwest Book Review
"When I joined the Washington bureau of the New York Times in 1981, Carroll had been gone for 18 years. I never met the man, though hardly a week passed without hearing his name and feeling his legacy, often expressed in a conditional phrase: what Wally Carroll would have done. Somehow I ingested those lessons, as did so many of my bureau colleagues—five of us became executive editors—and when it came my turn to run a newsroom, some of those Wally Carroll values came tumbling off my lips, too. It wasn’t until Century’s Witness that I understood the origin of the way I sought to practice journalism."
–David M. Shribman, The Wall Street Journal
"An enlightening life story of an eyewitness to turbulent events in the 20th century."
"Carroll’s combination of 'achievement and modesty, intelligence and compassion' led McNeil to chronicle the journalist’s life, from leaving Wisconsin for United Press and his first byline in 1928, to a career spanning the London Blitz and the end of the Vietnam War working for The New York Times and the Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel. McNeil’s rich and lively portrait makes a case for Carroll’s prescience and insight, as in 1955 when he decried 'the tyranny of objectivity' and the rise of McCarthyism, in which the media seemed complicit. In her admiring and almost wistful biography, McNeil charts Carroll’s final chapters, bravely fighting for the independence and eloquence of the Journal and Sentinel. 'Words were important to Carroll,' she writes, 'because he believed they held both power and nobility.'"
–The National Book Review
"Century’s Witness recalls the storied life of war correspondent and journalist Wallace Carroll in a detailed account from his humble beginnings in Wisconsin to his overseas assignment before and during World War II. Author Mary Llewellyn McNeil has written an illuminating biography about a low key but crucial voice of journalism, both during and after the war."
–San Francisco Book Review
"An appropriate addition to a reading list for any media history class or general American history class."
–Kaylene Armstrong, Journalism History