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Douglas Brinkley presents the definitive, revealing biography of an American legend: renowned news anchor Walter Cronkite.
An acclaimed author and historian, Brinkley has drawn upon recently disclosed letters, diaries, and other artifacts at the recently opened Cronkite Archive to bring detail and depth to this deeply personal portrait.
He also interviewed nearly two hundred of Cronkite’s closest friends and colleagues, including Andy Rooney, Leslie Stahl, Barbara Walters, Dan Rather, Brian Williams, Les Moonves, Christiane Amanpour, Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer, Ted Turner, Jimmy Buffett, and Morley Safer, using their voices to instill dignity and humanity in this study of one of America’s most beloved and trusted public figures.
in the CBS booth when Eisenhower denounced sensation-seeking columnists and commentators and all the Republicans started stomping the floor and shaking their fists at the anchor booths. Eric Sevareid, sitting in the CBS booth, was the target of epithets hurled from the conservative crowd. Making matters even worse, Wallace felt he was stuck in the middle of a feud between his stepfather and Cronkite. “Walter would just ignore directions and keep talking,” Wallace recalled. “He was kind of
place—a guy named Fox . . . came chasing into the room and asked me, ‘What the hell do you think you’re doing? We don’t want entertainment! We just want the facts!’ ” As Cronkite admitted about his Chicago World’s Fair TV debut, he was a bit of a ham, a jocular egotist wanting to please and show off in front of adoring crowds. Unfortunately, people simply didn’t see Cronkite as he saw himself. While he aspired to be the leading man in a UT Curtain Club production, he was instead cast as the
Don Hewitt, producing CBS News’ 60 Minutes, came closest to explaining the Tiffany Network’s collaboration in his memoir, Tell Me a Story. “Nobody ever said it because nobody had to say it,” he wrote. “But I always figured that there was an understanding between television and NASA—never spelled out, never even whispered, never even hinted at, but they knew and we knew. If we continued to help the space agency get its appropriations from Congress, they would in turn give us, free of charge, the
at WKRC feel that what we did was important, that TV news was a new American tradition.” Leslie Midgley seconded Clooney’s claim in his memoir How Many Words Do You Want? Too often Murrow was cited as the role model for television broadcasting aspirants. But would KCTV in Kansas City or WREG in Memphis or WWCO in Minneapolis learn anything from Murrow’s carefully produced and packaged See It Now or Person to Person or “Harvest of Shame”? Murrow was a mediocre broadcaster at live events like
best work. What The Twentieth Century did was remind people that Cronkite, no matter what the goofy Huntley-Brinkley boys were doing, was winning every award imaginable (including Emmys and Peabodys) and becoming, along with Murrow, one of the premier action journalists and eyewitnesses of modern times. Considered the finest half hour in television, the series foreshadowed the plethora of weekly compilation documentaries that would eventually populate both network and cable TV. Cronkite