Looking Back at the New Leader.

A weeklong diary of its former editor, Jim Holt.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the New Leader is folding after 82 years of publication. The New Leader served as an important venue for anti-Communist dissidents during the Cold War and civil rights activists in the 1960s. In the Times, Charles McGrath called the New Leader “either the most influential of the little-known magazines or the least well known of the influential ones.” In 1997, Jim Holt was editor of the New Leader and wrote a weeklong diary about his reign there, detailing his attempts to install a “regime of cheer” at the magazine. He wrote, “Amid all the bonhomie, no one seems really to be doing anything. I made one fellow ‘literary editor,’ thinking this would give him pleasure. He has since disappeared behind great mountains of review copies that have been accumulating around his desk, but no actual reviews have come in. I have a terrible feeling that when he emerges he is going to look like Leon Wieseltier.”