About the Author
Painting of Sevareid in the ND Rough Rider Hall of Fame
Eric Sevareid was born in Velva, North Dakota, a place he vividly described in his autobiography, Not So Wild a Dream. From these humble beginnings, he became one of the earliest of a group of intellectual, analytic, adventurous, and sometimes even controversial newspapermen, hand-picked by Edward R. Murrow as CBS radio foreign correspondents. Later Sevareid and others of this elite band of broadcast journalists, known as "Murrow's Boys," distinguished themselves in television.
Indeed from 1964 until his retirement from CBS in 1977, he carried on the Murrow tradition of news analysis in his position as national correspondent for The CBS Evening News. There his somber, eloquent commentaries were either praised as lucid and illuminating, or criticized for sounding profound without ever reaching a conclusive point.
As one of "Murrow's Boys" during World War II, Sevareid "scooped the world" with his broadcast of the news of the French surrender in 1940, joined Murrow in covering "The Battle of Britain," was lost briefly after parachuting into the Burmese Jungle when his plane developed engine trouble while covering the Burmese-China theater; he reported on Tito's
partisans; and he landed with the first wave of American troops in Southern France, accompanying them all the way to
In l946 after reporting on the founding of the United Nations, Sevareid wrote Not So Wild a Dream, which appeared in 11 printings and became a primary source on the lives of the generation of Americans who had lived through the Depression and World War II. Serving as CBS's roving European correspondent from 1959 to 1961, Sevareid contributed stories to CBS Reports as well as serving as moderator of series such as Town Meeting of the World, The Great Challenge, Where We Stand, and Years of Crisis. In addition, he also appeared in every presidential election coverage from 1948 to 1976.
After his retirement Sevareid continued to be active as a CBS consultant. His final appearance, before his death in 1992,
was on the 1991 CBS program Remember Pearl Harbor.
Canoeing with the Cree
In 1930 two novice paddlers—Eric Sevareid and Walter C. Port—launched a
secondhand 18-foot canvas canoe into the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling for an
ambitious summer-long journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Without benefit of radio, motor, or good maps, the teenagers made their way over 2,250 miles of rivers, lakes, and difficult portages. Nearly four months later, after shooting hundreds of sets of rapids and surviving exceedingly bad conditions and even
worse advice, the ragged, hungry adventurers arrived in York Factory on Hudson Bay—with winter freeze-up on their heels. First published in 1935, Canoeing with the Cree is Sevareid's classic account of this youthful odyssey. The newspaper stories that Sevareid wrote on this trip launched his distinguished
journalism career, which included more than a decade as a television correspondent and commentator on the CBS Evening News.
September 30-October 3, 2010, the North Dakota Humanities Council sponsored a symposium dedicated to the legacy of Eric Sevareid. Click here to view videos and information from that conference.