Terence M. Ripmaster, Willis Conover: Broadcasting Jazz To The World (iUniverse).
Rifftides readers may remember a series of postings about Conover that began with this one. Through his Voice Of America broadcasts, Conover practiced cultural diplomacy that made friends for the United States during one of the most perilous periods of its existence, the Cold War. He accomplished his mission without politics, with dignity, with understatement and taste. His country rewarded him with ingratitude and disregard. Ripmaster’s biography, though uneven and in need of editing attention, provides valuable information about Conover’s career and the esteem he generated around the world for jazz and America. At a time when the administration is working to downgrade the VOA’s English language broadcasting capability, the Conover story underlines how badly the US needs a neutral instrument of foreign policy to create good will around the world.
The Rifftides archives contain a number of postings and comments about Conover, including the effort to win him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. Go to the Search box in the upper right and enter “Conover.”