In 1946, legendary broadcaster Norman Corwin traveled to 17 countries to document the postwar world for the radio series, One World Flight. Here, recently discovered and now published for the first time, is his personal journal of that historic trip.
A towering figure in broadcast history, Norman Corwin has long been known as "Radio's Poet Laureate." In the late 1930s, a creative revolution was underway in the medium. What some people still called "the wireless" was maturing from a novelty into an art form. After a ten-year career as a newspaperman, columnist, and critic-which began at the age of 17-Corwin joined the ranks of aural provocateurs such as Archibald MacLeish, Arch Oboler, and Orson Welles.
Toward the end of 1944, with an Allied victory in Europe apparently assured, CBS asked Corwin to prepare a program celebrating the anticipated event. On May 8, 1945, just after the collapse of Germany, CBS aired On a Note of Triumph, an epic aural mosaic. This program is considered to be the climax of the luminous period in radio history when writing of high merit, produced with consummate skill was nurtured and protected from commercial interference.
After the broadcast, phone calls and letters of praise flooded the network, including a letter from Carl Sandburg calling On a Note of Triumph "one of the all the all-time great American poems." Corwin went on to win the first Wendell Willkie Award-a trip around the world sponsored by Freedom House and the Common Council for American Unity. Corwin accepted the Willkie Award on the condition it would be a working trip. He wanted the opportunity to record people in various countries and develop a series of documentaries on the state of the postwar world. CBS offered full support. The thirteen-part series, One World Flight, aired in 1947.
Norman Corwin's One World Flight provides the reader with an unrivaled perspective. During Corwin's travels to 17 countries in 1946, he kept a journal of his personal thoughts and observations. It was put in a drawer where it remained for decades. More than sixty years after the trip, media historian Michael Keith asked Corwin-who is now in his nineties-if he had kept a log or journal of his One World travels. He had, and his analysis of international communications still rings true today.