Croswell Bowen began his journalism career in Washington DC for the International News Service covering high-level government press conferences. This ended quickly due to his tendency to interrogate those he needed information from, including the Secretary of State at the time, a practice that was not accepted in the early 1900s. In 1943, he began working at PM Magazine, generating political content on everything from freedom of the press to domestic fascism. When the paper ended in 1948, he became a staff writer at the New Yorker and began writing his biographies, starting with The Elegant Oakey.
Croswell originally studied photography, allowing him to use his photography and writing in his career. He was approached to help research those living on the Hudson River, and eventually wrote his own book in 1940. In 1941, he joined the American Field Service as an official photographer. He ended up receiving the Africa Star and the British Empire Medal because he was wounded during the battle of Tobruk, thus sparking his novel Back from Tobruk.
Before his death in 1971, Croswell continued to write. His biography The Curse of the Misbegotten: A Tale of the House of O'Neill became a National Book Award finalist. He started an autobiography and a biography on John F. Kennedy, but never had the opportunity to finish them.
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