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Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories from the First 50 Years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 28, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schieffer began moderating CBS's Face the Nation in 1991. In the 50 years since the Sunday series' November 7, 1954, debut, 4,862 key newsmakers have appeared on 2,450 broadcasts. For this work, Schieffer interviewed broadcasting notables (Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, etc.) and drew on the resources of the CBS News Library, sifting through press releases, newspaper clippings and show transcripts. He opens by recounting how CBS chief Frank Stanton and CBS founder William S. Paley teamed up to make the "Tiffany network" a broadcasting giant. Stanton, now 96, told Schieffer how he created Face the Nation to match NBC's Meet the Press: "We needed a broadcast where newsmakers could be questioned in a live setting. NBC had one and we didn't.... [W]e had the responsibility to provide one." Writing with warmth, wit and insight, Schieffer looks back at significant events and personalities—from the civil rights movement and Vietnam to anthrax and Iraq, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Bill Clinton's "Oval Office trysts," from the Pentagon Papers to the Pentagon on 9/11. His perspective expands beyond the confines of the TV studio to become a memoir of milestones in 20th-century history. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In a bid to compete with NBC's Meet the Press, CBS debuted Face the Nation in 1954 with a contentious interview with Senator Joe McCarthy the day before the Senate debate that condemned his virulent anti-Communist tactics. Schieffer, CBS News anchor and moderator of the award-winning Sunday-morning news show, marks its anniversary with a behind-the-scenes look at the major developments in broadcast news and American history in the last half-century. Schieffer details the stories behind the stories that appeared on the broadcast: getting the first American interview with a Soviet leader when Nikita Khrushchev agreed to appear in 1957; Ed Sullivan's bid to be taken seriously by the news division, nearly scooping his own network with an interview with Fidel Castro in 1957; the interview with NAACP head Roy Wilkins in 1958 after a long, slow recognition that the story of the civil rights movement was being neglected by the networks. Schieffer recounts the triumphs and missteps of the program, including the 1965 interview with Alabama governor George Wallace, who derailed the question-and-answer format, and the 1971 interview with Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, when interviewers failed to ask, even though he was prepared to answer, whether Nixon should have disclosed the Pentagon Papers. A fascinating look at how the nation and the show have evolved over 50 years. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Bk & DVD edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743265858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743265850
  • ASIN: B000IOES1U
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,262,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Conway Stern VINE VOICE on October 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Bob Schieffer, moderator of the last Presidential debate and moderator of Face the Nation, has written a second book of memories. In it, he recounts the successful CBS show "Face the Nation."

It is a good read. Unfortunately, there's not quite enough meat in it. The book is over almost before it began. It comes with a 2-hour DVD that I am planning on watching soon. I hope it includes some of the remarkable stories included in the book; the McCarthy interview, the Ali interview, and most importantly, the great Martin Luther King, Jr.

Schieffer has a natural gift to tell a story, and it's a worthwhile read.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By mwreview on April 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a regular viewer of the Sunday political interview program Face the Nation but, while surfing channels, I saw Face the Nation moderator Bob Schieffer discuss his book celebrating the 50th anniversary of the program. Clips from the DVD included with the book were shown. There was the CBS crew in Moscow interviewing Nikita Krushchev in an odd-looking set in 1957. Then they showed a clip from 1959 with Fidel Castro in Havana. Schieffer explained that armed guards (one with a gun pointed at FTN producer Ted Ayers) surrounded the camera crew with Castro giving the probably not too reassuring claim that they were "men of love." What really intrigued me was a clip of the first FTN telecast. Senator Joe McCarthy was interviewed shortly before Congress voted to censure him for his excessive, paranoid, unsubstantiated accusations that many in the government were card-carrying Communists. McCarthy branded the Senate session a "lynching bee" right on the television show. When I was a teacher, I researched several lectures on McCarthy and never heard of this interview. Since I am interested in Cold War history, I bought this book.

The 50th anniversary book covers the following topics: McCarthy and the Red Scare, Krushchev the "big scoop," "Castro day on CBS," Civil Rights, Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers, women on FTN, presidential campaigns, Clinton's impeachment, 9/11, and the war in Iraq. The second part includes select "final thoughts" by Schieffer my favorite being on Prince Charles: "So why is this cause to celebrate? Because he's their prince, not ours" (p. 197). The third section is a brief look at the moderators and producers of FTN through the decades. In the back are statistics listing guests with the most appearances and the longest span of appearances.
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By leslie dye on February 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No one knows Face the Nation the way that Bob Schieffer does. Of most interest to me were two aspects: (1) The transition from pre-WWII radio to post war television and, (2) the anecdotes regarding convincing various politicos to attenmd and answer truthfully. I mailed it bck across the country to my buddy who also likes a good (true) political tale.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You might think that in 5 decades years of nearly non-stop weekly programming, a television show featuring the nation's foremost news makers might generate a plethora of interesting stories. Without doubt, DC-based Face the Nation (FTN), the CBS political interview show, has had access to terrific guests -- Its first being none other than Senator Joe McCarthy, just a couple of days prior to his historic censure in November 1954. Bob Shieffer takes on a tour, from the show's early days at the height of the Cold War, when an interview with Soviet premier Khrushchev was potentially treasonous, to the present age of instant satellite feeds and embedded reporters.

FCN offers a great tale or two. Ed Sullivan's attempts to break into the news biz by interviewing newly-victorious Fidel Castro ended up making a fool of the variety show host. The story was told here because FTN newsmen trying to interview Fidel were scooped by the entertainer. From here, Shieffer gives us snippets of the dangers and frustrations of bringing interviews home in the early days, when film had to be physically shipped to the studio. Newsmen had to travel to distant and dangerous places, including an increasingly brutal Vietnam, to get their subjects to speak, and often risked their lives to do so.

Beyond this, Shieffer very briefly sketches the genesis of the program (intended to compete with NBC's Meet the Press), it's format and the 7 journalists who have served as moderators, including Shieffer himself. Shieffer also claims that the show, whose format has remained basically unchanged for 50 years, has evolved innovations, like his short end-of-show commentaries, almost unintentionally. Shieffer's use of FTN transcripts and a few pages of his favorite commentaries were a high point of the book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Hutson on November 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book with the reflection that long-time journalists (e.g., Theodore White & Walter Cronkite) write some very interesting memoirs. Bob Shieffer must have saved the good stories for his other book. Instead of his personal reminisces, we mostly get a self-congratulatory history of the Face The Nation program, and its place in CBS News and as (just) one of the Sunday interview shows.

Even though this is a short book, it feels padded. Shieffer discusses how Face The Nation covered the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, 9/11, and Monica Lewinsky (he thinks it was appropriate for the show to feature that story on 49 Sundays in 15 months). Still, it is interesting and useful to remember how journalists once asked MLK if he shouldn't be more patient, and refused to take woman politicians seriously.
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