Todd Brewster · 2000

It seems fitting that after more than twenty years of recounting the lives and impacts of the century’s most influential figures that Todd Brewster be inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

Brewster has a diverse resume that began after graduating from North Central High School and attending Indiana University. He began work at American Heritage in 1977, then accepted an editorial/writing position with Life Magazine. His subjects were as diverse as the State Jewish Museum in Prague and British artist Henry Moore. He then moved to the ABC to cover politics, while still maintaining duties at Life that included the 1988 coverage of the Democratic National Convention as well as Washington Bureau Chief during the Gulf War.

From 1992-1994, Brewster began assisting with PBS and ABC NEWS productions. Recently he co-authored two books with Peter Jennings about the 20th Century. Both The Century for Young People and The Century are best-sellers in bookstores throughout the nation. From writing to television, Brewster also led the directing of a 27-hour ABC series on the Century.

It appears that those who study our century will have many references and rich primary resources in these texts. The introduction of The Century states, “It is a story of progress and regress, of hubris and humility, of man majestically asserting control over his destiny and, just as often shrinking from despair and confusion in the shadow of forces beyond him.” One read of this text allows almost any spectator or historian a compelling record of the 20th American perspective of history. The latter pages include a suggested bibliography that could easily be the greatest ever compiled. It includes names like Schlesinger Jr., Ambrose, Manchester, Goodwin, and Gould, to name a few and omit too many. The truth is that above and beyond the actual product which is sensational, but also the perspectives and references to what both average people and scholars think about then.

The Century for Young People was a slightly different approach that relied on the vibrant voices of each decade in roughly one-third the pages. Despite some suggestions that if anything Brewster and Jennings are too emphatic, the volume does justice to the century in realistic and an almost naked eye– reaching a broader audience any high-school history text ever has, and that is an accomplishment.

His colleague at ABC, Peter Jennings, said, “His contribution to the ABC Century Project is second to none. We would not have had The Century, a book without him. Only this week when we learned that a million copies of The Century had been sold, I was reminded again how far Todd’s creativity and scholarship have taken us all.”

At this point, Mr. Brewster is enjoying life in Connecticut with his wife, Slyvia, and son, Jack, while also continuing to edit for Life.


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