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Booknotes: America's Finest Authors on Reading, Writing, and the Power of Ideas Hardcover – June 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 423 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (June 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812928474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812928471
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Brian Lamb is the most self-effacing man on television. So, all the questions he asks on his C-SPAN history, politics, and public policy author-interview show, Booknotes, are focused on the book and author at hand. What a concept! As a result, this collection of the show's interviews since its inception in 1989 (divided into "Storytellers," "Reporters," and "Leaders"--the latter including Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher) is a treasure trove. Where else could you learn that presidential historian Forrest McDonald writes in the nude? Or that New York Times reporter Malcolm Browne started out as a chemist but left the profession after he accidentally blew up his laboratory?

From Booklist

Some of the most enjoyable reading for habitual readers is reading about writing. This fat book is a font of such enjoyment. Since April 1989, the commercial-free information TV service C-SPAN has presented a series of interviews between C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb and the authors of new history and public affairs books. "How did you get interested in this subject?" Lamb asks. "Where do you write?" "Who are these people you thank in the acknowledgments?" Responding to such quiet, personal questions, the writers wind up telling us about the human relationships, the lifestyles, the personal preferences, the practical considerations--the living that goes into the creating of books. Historians David McCullough and Shelby Foote, scholars Stephen Carter and Francis Fukuyama, journalists Anna Quindlen and Peter Arnett, and world leaders Margaret Thatcher and Jimmy Carter are a few who have answered Lamb, and the anecdotes and observations collected here, with which they and more than 120 equally prominent peers responded, are deeply amusing, absorbing, and affecting. Ray Olson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Brian Lamb would be a national treasure if he had only shepherded C-SPAN into existence. But he also brings us Booknotes -- a wonderful and distinctly understated tour through the inner workings of the most fascinating authors of our time -- and this book admirably captures the tenor and content of the cable program on which it is based.
Each author is covered (only once as a rule) in two to three pages which may touch upon influences, motives, work style and the writing experience. Each chapter begins with an introductory paragraph by Mr. Lamb, but otherwise the show's creator and moderator is not injected into the material, which is presented as straight text rather than in an interview format.
The short chapters make it a wonderful read in all circumstances, the material is engrossing, and one finds many suggestions for further reading here. Well done.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Darren Burton on June 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is one of the books that is long overdue for a book review by me. I stumbled across this book about 6 years ago and it should have been one of the first books I reviewed for amazon.
Since April 1989, C-SPAN's Booknotes has been offering one-hour televised conversations with non-fiction authors every Sunday night. Booknotes has interviewed over 710 historians, biographers, policy experts, and journalists. Authors are only interviewed once, regardless of how many books they publish. Eack Booknotes book (there are currently 5 out now) is a collection of essays developed from the edited interview transcripts of each of the sixty-minute interviews with each author. I know you will discover at least 10 books you will want to read after reading this collection of interviews. Enjoy.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By oholmes@fullerton.edu on December 4, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I am not a cable subscriber, so I have never seen the show "Booknotes" on C-SPAN. But that did not stop me from purchasing this book. I am a frustrated writer and thought the book would provide, as promised, a glimpse of how and where writers gain inspiration. I have recommended this to friends and have loaned it to a colleague who also writes. If the show is half as good as the written representation, I should run right out and become a subscriber. I highly recommend "Booknotes."
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Neil Shurley on July 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Full of fascinating stories, quotes and people, this collection held me enthralled from beginning to end. Not only useful as a glimpse into the writers themselves, most of the interviews also give you a taste of the subject they've written about -- more often than not, I wanted to read the transcript of the full Booknotes interview (available online)as well as seek out the books they'd written! Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Southern Reader on August 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
OK, upfront I'll own up to my prejudice. I love the way Brian Lamb does his program, Booknotes, on C-Span. He is at the top of my "people I want to have lunch with" list. If you, too, enjoy Booknotes and Lamb's interviewing style, then I'm quite sure you will enjoy this book. If you are not familiar with Booknotes, then you need to get with the program. You're missing out.
Th book is a compilation of summaries of Lamb's interviews with some 130 prominent and not so prominent authors. Each summary is tightly edited, and written like a statement from the author rather than a Q and A seesion. The result is excellent. The summaries are short enough to maintain reader interest, and the titles of the authors' books is great fodder for reading lists.
If Brian Lamb asked me in his understated manner, " So,what's your recommendation" My answer would be " Unqualified 5 stars "
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