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As this collection of anecdotal, behind-the-scenes moments demonstrates, talk-show maven King enjoys incredible access to newsmakers. Indeed, private conversations with President Clinton and other high-level people help drive this breezy, entertaining book. King takes readers to a series of scenesDthe Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988, his TV studio in January 1992 after Clinton's famous appearance on 60 Minutes, and Miami in 1958, where King accidentally hit a car driven by a man named John F. Kennedy, who asked for King's vote in two years when he would run for president. With his customary down-to-earth simplicity, King offers his thoughts on such matters as Clinton's political tenure ("He stayed on course despite 'bimbo eruptions'") and racism ("The [O.J.] verdict proved racism is quiet") and small glimpses of the famous, like JFK Jr. and Marlon Brando. The momentary snapshots of personalities and thoughts, along with juicy snippets from his show (for instance, how Ross Perot came to say he might be a candidate for president in 1992, followed by the debate King hosted in which Gore decimated Perot), don't add up to much, but it's a quick and easy summary of some of the major events of the last decade. King has a huge fan base. This book will be a mighty bestseller. (Nov. 3)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Larry King has been something of a Zelig during the years of his CNN television program, popping up in the middle of whatever crisis was riveting viewers to their screens: the O. J. trial, the Lewinsky scandal, the death of JFK Jr. Since King (and his panel of talking heads) is ubiquitous during the playing out of all the big stories, it would follow that he might be able to bring some particular insight into the events and the players involved. Apparently not. King takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the last eight years or so and manages to add absolutely nothing to the big picture. Covering himself in his familiar mantel of humble Brooklyn boy made good, King seems to take particular pride in pointing out, at almost every opportunity, that he has no news sense. His first look at Bill Clinton? "Keep your day job, pal." The O. J. case: "I knew one thing: while it was a major homicide case, it was going to be a two, maybe three-day story." If the book fails to give us the big picture, however, it does add details to the small picture. Like King's USA Today column, his latest tome is a name-dropper's delight, and followers of the show who saw the Gore-Perot debate or the infamous interviews with Marlon Brando will enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at the action. The title refers to how the world has loosened up in the last decade or so, but it could apply equally to the rise of Larry King. Ilene Cooper
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