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Audition: A Memoir Paperback – May 5, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 612 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307279960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307279965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Audition might seem an odd title for this long-awaited autobiography. After all, who is more established in the public’s mind than the iconic Walters? But  that’s what is so terrific about this book. Walters really does let readers see what’s behind her TV persona, and in many ways, what she reveals is an insecure woman whose life has been one audtion after another. The daughter of a night-club impresario and a mother who wanted a more stable life, Walters moved a lot, ever the new kid. But the greatest influence on her young life was her mildly retarded sister, who evoked in Walters both love and guilt. Her family’s ups and downs led her to believe that one day she would be financially responsible for them, and that eventually happened. But as Walters makes clear, this insecurity is also what propelled her forward; her strong work ethic and some good timing also helped to shape her amazing career. However, all that success came at a price. It affected her marriages and her daughter, and it engendered amazing hostility from male colleagues unwilling to give this pioneer a break. For readers of a certain age, much of the pleasure of the book comes in remembering along with Walters: her star interviews, her trip to the Bay of Pigs with Castro, her talks with kings, queens, and presidents. Then there’s dish on what really happened behind the scenes at The View. A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself. --Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“The crowning glory of a remarkable career.” —Liz Smith, New York Post“An ambitious and successful book. . . . .Suffused with an emotional intensity. . . . It belongs to a part of American culture that Walters helped invent.” —The New Yorker“Walters doesn’t shy from the tough stuff.... Nor does she, an entertainer as much as a groundbreaking journalist, skimp on the fun bits.”—People“A frank, graceful memoir of a...groundbreaking career in television.” —O, The Oprah Magazine“Walters’ heartfelt candor lifts this book above mere titillation.... Blended with this personal drama is a delightful tale of the golden age of television.... She regales you with the juicy behind-thescenes details of the celebrities she’s interviewed, mixed in with stories of her own trials and tribulations. In the end, you envy her a little less and admire her more.” —The Washington Post“Audition contains some fascinating stories (Walters censoring her interview with a sloshed Betty Ford), a good deal of frankness (defending her friendship with GOP power broker Roy Cohn), and grand old war stories from her groundbreaking stints with Today and ABC News.” —Entertainment Weekly“Compulsively entertaining.” —Salon“Witty, candid and full of history, both her own and of the events of the past five decades, Walters’s memoir is a fascinating look at the life of a groundbreaking journalist.”—The Post and Courier (Charleston)“Audition is brutally honest, both about Walters and those she's worked with. Readers won't be left wondering what she thinks of anything, or anyone, for that matter. . . . It's a fascinating look at a woman who has lived a fascinating life.”—Laura L. Hutchison, The Free Lance-Star “…the book is a triumph!”—Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic “…the grande dame of TV news has written a blockbuster. . . . Readers will gobble up the excerpts from scores of interviews with world leaders, politicians, celebrities and murderers.”—Kathleen Daley, New York Sun“an indispensable book along with a surefire monster best seller…intensely readable…She’s TV’s original monarch and superstar where power, show business and journalism converge. It’s Barbara Walters’ world, and the rest of us just live in it. [Her] mammoth memoir, doesn’t just touch chords, it’s a 600-plus page oratorio.”—Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News“Ms. Walters’s story is greatly humanized by the family memoir that colors her long litany of professional successes.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times“…the crowning glory of a remarkable career…”—Liz Smith, New York Post“…sizzling…”—Jo Piazza, New York Daily News“…compulsively readable… [Walters] gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she's interviewed, this mammoth memoir's energy never flags.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) “A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself.”  —Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred)

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Customer Reviews

Still reading book but can't wait to finish it..
B. Emerson
What a remarkable woman, and what an amazing career and life she has had!
Barbara Badham
This book about Barbara Walter's life is very interesting.
Karenpeach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 219 people found the following review helpful By Norma Lehmeierhartie VINE VOICE on May 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
At nine o'clock this morning, I arrived at Barnes and Noble, picked up Audition and sat down to read with a cup of coffee. I read for hours, bought the book and continued reading at home.

At over 600 pages, this book cannot be read in a day. However, I have read enough to report that the book is magnificent; extremely well- written, very pleasurable to read and absolutely fascinating.

Thankfully, there is also a detailed index. I found myself eying the index and flipping through to certain sections. I enjoyed reading about Walters' experience with the application form and other details at my alma mater, Sarah Lawrence College.

Open this book and on the inside jacket is a listing of the hundreds (thousands?) of people who Barbara Walters has interviewed and knows. It's pretty staggering, actually.

Born September 25, 1929, Barbara Walters has led an extraordinary life. Walters was first known as a TV morning news anchor and became the first female evening news anchor and many of us know her as the interviewer who can make anyone cry. Walters has spent decades reporting the news and interviewing, extracting juicy details and information out of world leaders, celebrities, heads of state and other VIP's.

In Audition, we get to learn about Walter's personal and professional life and her relationships with many of the most famous people in the world.

In the prologue, Walters states: "It feels to me that my life has been one long audition--an attempt to make a difference and to be accepted."

I was quite moved by her introduction and her feelings about her mentally challenged older sister, Jackie.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Author on May 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I always wondered why Barbara Walters had a slightly unfocused look at the beginning of some of her broadcasts. She confesses that when she is nervous, she takes one puff of a cigarette just offstage, and (being a non-smoker) immediately feels slightly dizzy but relaxed. This is exactly the look I am thinking of -- eager but slightly unfocused for a moment, batting her eyelashes exactly twice.

It's the nicotine!

Miss Walters has produced a long and satisfying memoir which will become the beach read of the Summer. Early on, she boasts slightly of her skills as an editor. It's clear she has applied them to this book as well. Barbara Walters has produced a finely-lubricated engine of a narrative that keeps us moving rather swiftly through her early years and subsequent superstar status.

I imagine the book could easily have topped 1,000 pages had she not applied her skilled eye in chopping it down. Still, when Miss Walters writes about some of her more interesting interviews, Truman Capote for example, you almost wish she would go into more detail. There is a sense she is holding back for brevity.

However, there are so many incredible anecdotes -- one featuring Robert F. Kennedy and a Mynah bird had me howling -- and they are from such impressive individuals, you admire her even more for taking out what must have been some humdingers.

I don't want to give any of them away because they're too good. I bought this book on the day of its release and I am not disappointed.

I like Barbara Walters' tenacity and ambition, even if she feels her rise to the top was fueled somewhat by an anxious insecurity, a neverending audition. In fact, she's auditioning for us here.
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Format: Hardcover
I had very mixed reactions after reading this book. The personal sections, the ones dealing with her daughter, father and other aspects of life OFF screen were very engaging.

I can remember Barbara Walters from the days when she was a very young reporter or television journalist, the distinctive speech that was parodied on Saturday Night Live, the Barbara "Wah Wah" jokes and all the rest.

As a young female watching all that occur in a time when women's roles were changing, I often cringed when I saw her on television. It was like watching and FEELING a cultural paradigm - and I think this book reflects that as well.

Although Walters maintained a fairly professional facade throughout her career, I'm sure plenty of what happened to her, on air and off, stung. So to judge her too harshly would be wrong.

However, I DO think there are parts of this book which are too braggy, perhaps unintentionally so, perhaps even defensively so. The woman is used to attention, to a certain degree of power and to having fought her way from being scorned by male co-anchors to winning respect. That deserves note.

Still, it wasn't all the list of Firsts and Great Interviews that Walters writes about that actually touched and engaged me. Instead, it was her honesty about her personal, behind the scenes life. I recall seeing a show she did on adoptive parents and her own interview and the revelations of her adopted daughter. There were struggles between the two and even estrangement for a time. Also, Barbara had a sister with mental challenges and there was that as well as times when she had to put her career first and marriage and even her daughter second. There was a cost for that and I didn't feel Walter shied away from being honest about the realities.
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