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Stephen B. Shepard is the Founding Dean Emeritus of the Craig Newmark Granduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. His tenure as Dean ran from 2005 to 2013. Earlier, he served as senior editor at Newsweek, editor of Saturday Review and editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.  He was president of the American Society of Magazine Editors from 1992 to 1994, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1999.  His journalistic memoir, Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path from Print to Digital, was published by McGraw-Hill in 2012.  He has written three other books, most recently Salinger's Soul.  He and his wife, Lynn Povich, have two children and two grandchildren.

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     In SALINGER'S SOUL, published in September 2024, Shepard takes a closeup look at how J.D. Salinger's private life influenced his famous stories. Soon after he wrote The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger retreated to a rural town in New Hampshire and lived in seclusion for the rest of his life. He wrote nearly every day but didn't publish any of his work after 1965. He became famous for not wanting to be famous.

     Salinger's Soul tells of his traumatic experience in World War II, as well as his transition from the Judaism of his youth to his embrace of a mystical form of Hinduism known as Vedanta. It was Vedanta that influenced his post Catcher fiction, from Nine Stories to Franny and Zooey.Yet Salinger veered from Vedanta in one crucial way: he didn't heed its dictum to lead a life of celibacy. Instead, Salinger was obsessed with young women, those "in the last minutes of their girlhood."
     In all, his wartime experience, his religious beliefs, and his romantic relationships defined his life in seclusion and influenced his writing. Salinger's Soul looks at his little-known personal voyage of discovery.

Deadlines and Disruption is Shepard's book about journalism at a time of radical disruption, written as a memoir by someone who lived through it. The book is fundamentally a tale of transition. It is the transition of a working class kid from the Bronx who rises to the top of the magazine world. It is the story of how he built BusinessWeek into one of the best and most lucrative magazines, only to see it later succumb to the imperatives of the Internet age. It is the saga of how, at age 65, he launched a new graduate school of journalism for a new era, struggling himself to understand the topsy-turvy forces at work -- and to accept them. And, ultimately, it is the transformation of journalism itself as it tries to find new business models for the digital age.

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 In A Literary Journey to Jewish Identity, published in 2018, Shepard explores his encounters with several Jewish-American writers who inspired him and influenced his sense of what it means to be Jewish. He writes of the great flowering of Jewish-American fiction in the post-war era – the golden age of Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Arthur Miller, Cynthia Ozick, and others.

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In Second Thoughts, published in 2021 when he was 80, Shepard reflects on his life, searching for meaning among the mundane. His second thoughts are not necessarily bad or good, but a search for truths not always available to the young.  The risk is that such reflection is little more than romanticized sentiment that glamourizes the ordinary. He hopes, instead, for something more: New understanding about the family of his boyhood. Greater meaning in today's journalism as it copes with profound change.  New thoughts about the Jewishness he once rejected.  Renewed pleasure in re-reading fiction that matters.  And deep understanding of the loss he feels about friends worthy of eulogy. We can't re-play our lives, as if editing an old movie. Perhaps we can benefit from an honest quest for second thoughts. Here's Shepard's quest.