The Economist with all its wit and influence today can't match the verve and reach Time had in its glory days. Now there was a magazine with a world audience and writing that really sparkled. It could make the news read like a story and describe a person as vividly as a picture.
Sadly shrunken now, it boasts a storied past, recalled in loving detail by its old rival, The New Yorker. It's hard to see two such different magazines as rivals. But that's what they were, recalls Jill Lepore in her highly entertaining Untimely: What was at stake in the spat between Henry Luce and Harold Ross?
Ross, a miner's son who never finished high school, launched The New Yorker in 1925 as the magazine "not edited for the old lady in Dubuque".
Luce, a missionary's China-born son who went to Yale, started Time with his friend, Briton Hadden, in 1923 as a a magazine meant to "appeal to every man and woman in America".
Luce and Ross hated each other's guts.