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David Brinkley Hardcover – October 10, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Inc.; 1st edition (October 10, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067940693X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679406938
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,801,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Although the Election Night '96 dust-up in which Brinkley unfairly trashed Bill Clinton may have momentarily obscured it, the truth is he's one of the most insightful political commentators ever to appear regularly on television. He's also had tremendous timing: after some short stints at small newspapers in little Southern towns, Brinkley became NBC's White House correspondent in 1943, and after FDR, went on to cover ten other presidents. (He became particularly friendly with LBJ.) In the process, Brinkley became an expert on the folkways of Washington, D.C. As reported here, when Brinkley was preparing for the broadcast of the first moon landing, he asked the director of NASA about the significance of the event. "David," came the reply, "if this all works I can get Congress to raise my budget to $20 billion next year."

From Publishers Weekly

Born in 1920 and raised in Wilmington, N.C., Brinkley began writing for the local paper in high school. He soon graduated to the United Press and, by WWII, was working for NBC Radio in Washington, D.C. It was there that he covered his first president, FDR ("a social snob"); was present at Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946; and witnessed the miracle election of Truman in 1948. He slowly moved into TV and was paired with Chet Huntley at the 1956 political conventions. Their immediate chemistry led to the top-rated Huntley-Brinkley Report on the NBC Network. Brinkley reminisces about his friendship with Robert Kennedy; tells a hilarious story about how LBJ garnered votes from the cemetery; remembers how he first came across a "rural tinhorn" who went on to become Senator Jesse Helms; and recalls how it felt to be #1 on Nixon's enemies list. He also recounts how he left NBC and joined ABC to host This Week With David Brinkley. He gives his crusty opinion of both political parties: "I find one to be about as bad as the other and both pretty bad." The only thing that mars this work is Brinkley's diatribe against taxes, which comes off as the ramblings of a grump. A thoughtful, breezy, anecdotal work. Photos. 150,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB selections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on April 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
To me, Brinkley always seemed a cut above the modern TV journalist / anchor -- more sober, more professional and less interested in focusing the attention on himself rather than his subject.
David Brinkley tells his life story in this quick book. Growing up with the new medium of television, he and his partner (Chet Huntly) wrote much of the playbook for the way network news and tv interview shows are conducted.
This is an interesting story that tells not only of Brinkley's growth and development but also of the maturation of the tv news industry. Along the way, Brinkley was witness to many seminal events and has of course met many of the notables of his era.
The man's integrity and dedication to the profession of journalism shines through in this book. I can't imagine Sam or Cokie or Dan or Peter writing this book. Too much would be devoted to image and the their impact on the news. Brinkley was able to achieve the incredible credibility he enjoyed because he was made of different stuff -- this is the story of a darn good journalist who understood the difference between covering the news and entering it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By vkoppik1@purdue.edu on June 30, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
Brinkley gives the reader a lot of insight on how it was like to be one of the first people in broadcast journalism and he fills the book with rich anecdotes and humorous incidents that he got to cover. One such incident is that when he was covering the opening of Cape Canavaral in Florida the town of Cocca Beach grew so fast that a hotel owner expanded a hotel without even bothering to check to see if the additional land belonged to him. The actual owner of the land did not complain until the construction was finished and then he claimed the hotel to himself. Although Brinkley tries to go into a chronological order sometimes he skips back and forth between different time periods and this can be very confusing. As far as his content is concerned he includes a lot about various topics from the political conventions to the foreign policy issues that affected this nation (Vietnam and post World War II Europe). However the civil rights movement was a major part of the 1950's and 60's and since he is from the South I would have expected that he would have devoted an entire chapter to covering this tumultuous time in American history. Overall this book is worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lewis F Townsend MD on April 6, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
I was quite excited to get David Brinkley's book, as I have enjoyed his newscasts for years, particularly the early conventions. As it turns out, this is a "Chatty-Cathy" book that rambles on about his life, with his TV persona somewhat as an afterthought. The book is quite readable with his enjoyable laconic style, but at the end, you don't know much more about him, TV, the process of TV news, or the events to which he was an eyewitness....at least not more than you already knew or could surmise.
The book was a pleasant interlude, but somewhat a bit of froth
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Format: Paperback
From 1956 to 1970, before the days of Dan Rather on CBS, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley said "good night" to each other at the 'finis' of NBC network news, leaving everybody watching feeling a kind of contentment that "all's right with the world." After his first eighteen years spent growing up, working for the small town newspaper, in North Carolina, his tenure fin the world of television news saw him through four wars, three assassinations, two wives, twenty-two political conventions, eleven presidents, 2,000 weeks of canvassing and reporting the news to the American public and one moon landing, he is on terra firma at last. Born in Wilmington, and educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee, he spent most of his life on the Washington, D.C. scene. He had a soft Southern drawl and a knack for brevity, using just the right word or phrase to sum up a situation. This memoir as such is mostly about politics and his role as observer of the leaders then and now.

He was in the press corps. "Even though I was in Washington covering the White House for the last years of Franklin Roosevelt's presidency and reported from the White House every day when there was any news and traveled with him on several trips, we only knew, as everyone knew, the U. S. Treasury paid him one hundred thousand dollars a year." Perhaps no form of governments needs great leaders so much as democracy. The political history of the 20th century lists six men as the best leaders: Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. The first four were tyrants; had it not been for the final two, western civilization might have perished.

In March 1946, Harry S.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. Peterson on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Being born in the early 1970's, the only way that I remember and have become endeared to David Brinkley was on ABC's "This Week with David Brinkley." It was Sunday morning must-see viewing for a political junkie like me. Tim Russert's "Meet the Press" has outstanding questioning of his guests, but for some reason Brinkley's show was my favorite.
This book was a treasure for me to read because it was like seeing the history of modern politics from the front-lines. Brnkley was there as tv gained its foothold, and then its firm grip as THE MEDIUM to campaign for president. His insights into the different presidents since FDR are non-partisan and quite funny. He pulls no punches about who he liked and disliked and keeps his political ideology to himself for the most part. Though in the final chapter of this book, he does provide some biting commentary on the money-grubbing and unfair tax practices in this country.
This book can be confusing at times, because Mr. Brinkley seems to have pieced it together as his thoughts were coming to him. It is random and does not follow any cohesive time-line. He will jump from talking about the 1950's then to the 1970's then back to the 1950's and 60's again. Frankly I did not understand the point and thought it might be easier to read had he decided to write in chronological order.
I was also surprised to learn that Brinkley and his co-anchor Chet Huntley were the top rated news broadcasters of hteir day. All this time I had thought Walter Cronkite had ALWAYS been the #1 rated broadcaster and in fact his CBS program only gained on NBC in the early 1970's. Mr. Brinkley continuously expresses his fierce competitiveness towards the other networks and their newscasters.
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