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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, light read.
I've always regarded Walter Cronkite simply a news-writer/wire service reporter/voice-over narrater/anchorman-presenter. I think he purposely reflects this same idea in his title, A REPORTER'S LIFE -- nothing more, nothing less. His memoir is written similiary in a frank, concise, matter-of-fact style, and is unpretentious (most mercifully). A blue-collar reporter; I was...
Published on November 29, 2000

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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment, especially the audiobook - it's NOT him!
Wouldn't you think that the audio-book of Walter Cronkite's biography would be read by Mr. Cronkite himself? His is one of the most recognizable voices of the 20th Century? But no, it's narrated by a nasal, sing-song voice that doesn't remotely resemble the master. And the book itself is a tremendous disappointment. I couldn't agree more with the review by Funkytown. I...
Published on March 22, 2003 by John Wilpers


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, light read., November 29, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Paperback)
I've always regarded Walter Cronkite simply a news-writer/wire service reporter/voice-over narrater/anchorman-presenter. I think he purposely reflects this same idea in his title, A REPORTER'S LIFE -- nothing more, nothing less. His memoir is written similiary in a frank, concise, matter-of-fact style, and is unpretentious (most mercifully). A blue-collar reporter; I was born, went to school here, got a job at the local paper there, went overseas and covered the war, did some radio work, went to TV, retired, and here's what I think of network news today... (That's all). Don't look for any insights or deep introspections. For instance; I was truly interested to know his thoughts, feelings, and dealings with Ed Murrow and The Boys, and how he won CBS news from them. Walt only devoted 2 short paragraphs bascially saying: They were editorialists, and I was more front page news. (That's it?) How about working with Eric Severide? A sentence here, another one there. (Yep, that's it).
The first half of the book is devoted to Walt growing up, working in newspapers, becoming a wire service reporter, and covering the war in Europe. This is some good stuff. Again, nothing intensive, but interesting. The second half of the book is about his television career with CBS. If you grew up watching Walt during this time, well -- there's not many surprises. He repeats how he choked up announcing JFK's death, calling the Vietnam War to be a lost cause, learning of LBJ's death with a phone call live on the air, watching Dan Rather getting slugged (woohoo!) at the Democratic Convention, etc. In the last chapter Walt gives his views on the state of network news and how it can be improved. To me, it was kind of sad. He doesn't fully appreciate or understand that it's dead. Yes, he gives some credit to the alternative news sources and how they're contributing to the demise of network news; but with all the 24 hour cable news channels, satellite TV, 2 channels of CSPAN; and the NY Times, Washington Post, BBC, foreign newspapers, and wire services on the Internet -- why would anyone want to suffer under the 3 network Ted Baxters we have now?
All in all, it is a light, entertaining, and enjoyable read. It's like sitting with a favorite, jovial uncle at the dinner table, while he recounts his life's adventures.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Revolutionary forces are already at work [outside the US] today, and they have man's dreams on their side.", April 4, 2006
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Hardcover)
In a fascinating and thought-provoking autobiography (1996), Walter Cronkite reflects on his career in journalism, from the earliest days in which he listened to radio on a crystal set, through his own participation in world events as a television journalist. Without the ego one usually associates with newscaster-celebrities, Cronkite gives the history of journalism--radio, newspapers, news syndicates, and television--by giving anecdotes from his own long career, always showing what he learned from his mistakes (which he is remarkably candid and often humorous in describing), and giving ample credit to the people who helped him. His thoughtful observations about the impact of television and its negative effects on voting participation, along with his predictions for the future of this country, offer a broader perspective and warning about our national vision.

Cronkite's sense of excitement about journalism is obvious from the earliest days of his career, when he used brief, coded teletype messages to invent play-by-play accounts of football games for his radio audience. By career's end, he was participating in world events, his interview with Anwar Sadat and its follow-up bringing Sadat to Israel in a precedent-setting meeting with Menachim Begin and an eventual peace treaty. As he takes the reader step-by-step through this career, he describes his goals as a young man, his earliest jobs at local newspapers and radio stations, his work with United Press, his press responsibilities overseas during World War II, his work in Russia, and his early foray into television, when other serious journalists were avoiding this medium.

The landmark TV coverage of the 1952 political conventions opened the eyes of the country to how the political system worked in reality. The Nixon and Kennedy interviews in 1960 (and Theodore White's book, The Making of the President), show the power of television to affect outcomes. He gives candid, personal insights into various Presidents, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt through George Bush Senior, including fascinating insights into Eisenhower (far more aware of issues than often thought), JFK (with whom he had mixed experiences), and Jimmy Carter (in his view, the most intelligent President).

It is Cronkite's candor and his ability to see himself as a facilitator of communication, rather than as an ego-driven reporter looking for the landmark "scoop," that makes this autobiography so compelling. When, in his conclusion, he modestly offers his own observations about the end of the twentieth century, based on his experience, the reader pays attention. Mincing no words, Cronkite describes the social, political, and economic evolutions taking place around the world and their potential as revolutions, warning, "They have man's dreams on their side. We don't want to be on the other side." Elegantly written, this is a landmark book in the history of journalism. n Mary Whipple
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong look at Journalism and 20th Century USA, May 6, 2005
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Hardcover)
This is an engaging biography by the CBS journalist/broadcaster who was once called "the most trusted man in America." The book pretty much matches Cronkite's TV image; decent, fatherly, and surprisingly modest.

Cronkite recalls his boyhood in Missouri (he was born in 1916) and Texas, his early reportorial days, and his long career with CBS radio and television. Cronkite also takes a long look at U.S. history during the post-war period, including the end of World War II, the Cold War, Civil Rights, Vietnam, etc. He also devotes strong attention (and opinions) to America's Presidents in that era. Most would consider Cronkite politically centrist, but some conservatives (including TV's mythical Archie Bunker) despised his pro-UN, and eventual anti-Vietnam view. Readers get a feel for what it's like to have access to the high and mighty, as well as the sense that politicians see reporters as people to be used for their ends. Cronkite also reveals such personal issues as his family life, and his love for race cars and speed.

This is an informative and engaging read, yet a bit shallow for one who moved in the constellations of power. Perhaps that comes from the author's status as America's anchorman, a task requiring one to strive to be calm, level and centered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern American History Through the Eyes of Walter Cronkite, May 19, 2006
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Hardcover)
To live the life of Walter Cronkite is to live a thousand years. For nearly half a decade Walter Cronkite served as the voice of reason to millions of Americans who looked to his print, radio, and television reports for information and reassurance. This autobiography covers the life of Walter Cronkite from his early life as a lowly radio announcer to his ultimate stand at the pinnacle of journalism.

As usual, Cronkite's wit is second-to-none and comes through clearly in his prose. Still, he never pulls punches and minces no words regarding the multitude of famous and powerful men and women he met along the way. His engrained honesty and objectivity is a refreshing look to when journalism was an honest art, plagued not by corporate sponsorship.

Cronkite's work not only serves as an interesting look at "Cronkite, the man," but is a work of modern American history, written by the man who lived and reported it all. For a readable, enjoyable look at Cronkite's America, "A Reporter's Life" is one of the best.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, December 8, 2005
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Audio Cassette)
This book contains the memoirs of Walter Cronkite, pioneering television journalist. Cronkite begins by describing his childhood briefly, noting that even as a youngster, he was pulled to journalism. He credits a volunteer journalism teacher in his high school for introducing him to the rigors of print journalism, but once started, he was hooked. It was this teacher who taught him the prime importance of getting the facts correct, a value that he would hold primary throughout his career. As a high school student, Cronkite competed in statewide journalistic writing tournaments, and won. After high school, he enrolled in college for a while, but decided that pulling in an income was more important than getting a degree (this was during the Great Depression), a decision which he later came to regret. On a lark, he landed a radio news announcer job in Oklahoma City. Later, he worked for UPI, where he honed his collating and rewriting skills under pressure of constant deadlines. The experience from all of these jobs was to prove invaluable later when he landed a job announcing the news on CBS television. Cronkite was not only one of the first early TV news broadcasters, but the word `news anchorman' was even invented just to describe what he did (or so he claims).

In this book, Cronkite reminisces not only about his career, but also about the big news stories of day. He discusses how television came to play a strong role in politics, starting with the 1952 party conventions, which were the first to be televised. He enumerates the presidents he has known, from Hoover through George Bush, senior, and he compares the effectiveness of each, as well as their relations with the media. He analyzes the forces behind the fateful American build-up in Vietnam, and the eventual pull-out. He also relates how he inadvertedly became involved in negotiating peace between Egypt and Israel. All in all, his tales are fascinating. I usually find political discussion hideously tiresome, but Cronkite manages to make even politics interesting.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His voice still commands attention, February 15, 2003
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Audio Cassette)
As a devotee of the CBS evening news anchored by Walter Cronkite before his retirement, I was pleased to hear his voice again. His tones always seemed to exude confidence and accuracy, leading to his being known as the most trusted man in America. His public statements about the futility of American involvement in Vietnam did as much as anything else to turn American public opinion against the war, a fact that even Lyndon Johnson understood.
He was present at many momentous events of this century, not the least of which was the beginning of both radio and television broadcast journalism. The stories that he recounts are factual, yet sometimes funny as he describes his role in developing two new mediums and how he watched events unfold. Had anyone else read this book, it would have had nowhere near the effect that it does. His is one of the most fascinating careers of all time, as he also had some form of interaction with nearly every major newsmaker of the last century.
One section that I found very interesting was when he was talking about the American presidents. I was very surprised that he ranked Jimmy Carter as the smartest president that he met, and from his statements it appears that the rest are considered a distant second While he was polite enough to avoid direct criticism of Ronald Reagan, it was clear that he does not have a high opinion of Reagan's intellect. His role in bringing about the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt was something that I had not known until now. It is an event that should be extensively examined by every journalism major.
If his career was examined in depth, it is possible that Walter Cronkite would be placed in the upper echelons of the most influential people of the last century. The changes that he helped bring about were more subtle, yet no less significant. From this tape, you get only a glimpse of that influence, but it still demonstrates how important he was to the flow of history.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look into the stories behind the news, April 25, 2000
By 
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Paperback)
Although an avid reader of biographies, I am usually not a fan of memoirs that incorporate events of history. I usually find them far too dry and uninteresting with their rigid, chronological structure. A REPORTER'S LIFE by Walter Cronkite, however, is a rare exception. Cronkite narrates his own personal history while touching on many of the most significant events and people of the past 50+ years. Cronkite does so in a engaging and page-turning narrative.
As seen through the eyes of perhaps the most respected and trusted reporter of this century, events such as our involvement in war, particularly Vietnam and the division of our country over it, Watergate, the Nuremberg trials, South Africa, Communism, the first steps toward peace between Egypt and Israel, the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of John Kennedy, the NASA space program, and many more are given a more personal, and sometimes different, perspective than the "history" we have come to know or have been led to believe.
The Kennedys, Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King, Jr., George Patton, Jimmy Hoffa, Neil Armstrong, Rosa Parks, Adolf Hitler, and our presidents: from FDR to George Bush, are just a few of the many figures to be found here. Cronkite not only recounts stories about them, but in many cases gives us heretofore unknown and sometimes surprising insights into these colorful and complex personalities.
I found each of his recollections about these important people and events in history both absorbing and entertaining. Having personally reported on all these events, Cronkite is able to make them come much more alive and make them far more interesting than any typical history book's dry recital of facts and dates.
But it is Cronkite's personal history of the development of media journalism, and his own career in it, that makes for the more compelling story. From his beginnings as a newspaper boy, to newspaper reporter, radio announcer, becoming the first news "anchor" for the CBS Evening News, to the sad state journalism is in danger of becoming, as news stations are taken over by corporate conglomerates, more interested in "entertaining" the public in an effort for higher ratings and profits, than in educating and informing said public, we follow both the neophyte journalism student and newly developing industry as they grow up and mature side-by-side through the intervening years.
A REPORTER'S LIFE is a very fine book. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in the life of one of our most distinguished news reporters and human beings, or a brief, but personal look into the history of media journalism.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big disappointment, especially the audiobook - it's NOT him!, March 22, 2003
By 
John Wilpers (Marshfield, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Hardcover)
Wouldn't you think that the audio-book of Walter Cronkite's biography would be read by Mr. Cronkite himself? His is one of the most recognizable voices of the 20th Century? But no, it's narrated by a nasal, sing-song voice that doesn't remotely resemble the master. And the book itself is a tremendous disappointment. I couldn't agree more with the review by Funkytown. I got this book with high hopes, having grown up listening every night to Mr. Cronkite wrap up the day's events. His nightly broadcast was a family ritual, and my family were CBS devotees for years. I looked forward to as cogent a review of his time on the world stage as he gave us daily in the news. Instead, the book jumps from subject to subject with no coherence other than it appears that one thought seems to trigger the next. It was like Mr. Cronkite was dictating into a tape recorder as he sat on the deck of his sailboat enjoying a stream-of-conscious recollection. The use of chapters in this book is laughable. It's a shame, too, as there are lots of terrific nuggets here. You just have to have the patience to wade through it, making chronological and thematic connections on your own. Don't waste money on it....go to your public library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Walter Cronkite, October 2, 2009
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This review is from: A Reporter's Life (Paperback)
A Reporter's Life is a very well written story of Walter Cronkite's life and adventures as a reporter for various organizations, usually CBS. He uses words well and tells a very interesting history of his time as a reporter. He seems to have been a very adventurous man and never passed up a chance to attempt something new, though dangerous. He is humorous, accurate and, seemingly, modest. If you lived your life during the period he tells about you will feel a great amount of nostalgia. Mr. Cronkite met and interviewed, or just talked with, many people whose names you will recognize: LBJ, JFK, Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, FDR, Anwar Sadat, Jimmy Carter and more. A good book!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's The Way It Was., July 17, 2009
I remember Walter Cronkite when I was a kid. I remember his reports on the moon landing, the Viet Nam war, and John Lennon's death. His competition was Huntley/Brinkley and Harry Reasoner. Everyone valued his opinion. Sleep well, my friend. That's the way it was, July 17th, 2009. Maverick
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A Reporter's Life
A Reporter's Life by Walter Cronkite (Paperback - October 28, 1997)
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