ERIC SEVAREID Sevareid's essays of sound and words for CBS Radio News during World War II lifted the network's coverage beyond the basics of who, what, where, and when. One of radio's greatest moments: Sevareid's story about Brits dancing through a London Blitz blackout, delivered live from a ballroom, couples swaying next to him in the dark. His books include memoirs, essays, and Canoeing with the Cree, a travelogue of his journey as a teen from Minnesota to Hudson Bay. As a commentator later for CBS-TV, Sevareid devolved from fiery liberal to Cranky Old Guy, paving the way for Andy Rooney.
BRENDA UELAND Ueland preached living optimistically and with gusto. Her 1938 book If You Want to Writereads as much like a New Age self-help tome as it does an instruction manual for would-be scribes. Fans include Carl Sandburg, Andrei Codrescu, and Paul Westerberg.
THORSTEN VEBLEN Turgidly written and syncretically conceived, Veblen's Theories of the Leisure Class, composed at the front end of a string of abortive teaching posts, remains one of the most original contributions to American sociology and economics.