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Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman's Life in Journalism Hardcover – February 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In five decades as an award-winning reporter, Davis witnessed changes in news gathering and the politics of race and sex. Born to a poor black laundress in a hardscrabble Louisiana town, she migrated with her family to California during the Depression. Poverty and an unstable family life caused her to miss an opportunity to go to college and to take refuge in early marriage. As a young wife and mother, she stumbled into freelance reporting for Jet and Ebony. Taking every random assignment and learning all she could, she moved on to radio and television, along the way meeting and interviewing celebrities, including Bill Cosby, Nancy Wilson, James Brown, Martin Luther King Jr., Huey Newton, Angela Davis, Michael Jackson, and Alex Haley. Her strong connections to the black community made her an asset as the media covered the social unrest, riots, and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. Davis chronicles her own struggles and political awakening as she pushed against the boundaries for women and minorities in journalism to become the first black female news anchor on the West Coast. --Vanessa Bush

Review

"Davis is an engaging, likable personality with an inspiring story. Recommended for any reader interested in journalism, history, or gender and race relations in the United States."
Library Journal, January 2011

"An engaging memoir that includes not only a fascinating childhood and coming-of-age in the deep south and the Oakland projects, but also involvement in some of the most important happenings of the mid-20th century." —School Library Journal, February 2011

“I was not asked to write a blurb for Up from Slavery, War and Peace, or The Fire Next Time, but gladly I can say Never in My Wildest Dreams is a very important book. No people can say they understand the times in which they have lived unless they have read this book.”
Dr. Maya Angelou

Never in My Wildest Dreams is the fascinating account of a pioneering black woman and her tumultuous but triumphal march through a turbulent era. Overcoming one obstacle after another, Belva Davis covered some of the most explosive stories of our era—and became one of most trusted news professionals in the business. Her story is a unique version of the American Dream, and her book is an honest, insightful, and utterly riveting memoir of a shared and personal journey.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein

Never in My Wildest Dreams shows what it really takes to succeed as a black woman in the journalistic world in America. A must read.”
Willie L. Brown, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Willie L. Brown Institute

“Belva Davis has lived this country’s history as only a brave black woman could and has witnessed it as a journalist with a world-class head and heart. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to read her words in Never in My Wildest Dreams without becoming a better and braver person.”
Gloria Steinem

“After a friendship of over 30 years, it’s astonishing to find from this revealing, heartbreaking, and inspirational book that I knew so little about the profound and historic forces that shaped Belva’s life.”
Phil Bronstein, Editor-at-Large, Hearst Newspapers

"Davis is an engaging, likable personality with an inspiring story. Recommended for any reader interested in journalism, history, or gender and race relations in the United States."
-- Library Journal Review, David Gibbs, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, DC, January 2010

“An engaging memoir that includes not only a fascinating childhood and coming-of-age in the deep south and the Oakland projects, but also involvement in some of the most important happenings of the mid-20th century.”
-- School Library Journal, February 14, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1st edition, 1st printing edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781936227068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936227068
  • ASIN: 1936227061
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Katy Bejarano on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time - and I read a lot! It should definitely be required reading for all highschool and college students - at least in the San Francisco Bay Area, if not the entire country.

It is an autobiography of the first black woman to 'make it' in the world of journalism, but it is so much more. It is a fascinating history of the 1950s onward - race relations, Ku Klux Klan in San Francisco, civil rights movements, Black Panthers, Patty Hearst, Jonestown, Dan White murders, Fidel Castro, AIDs, on and on. It includes all the things that were current events for me, but now fall into the category of history, therefore probably history that is not yet taught in schools.

Buy it! Read it! Pass it on to someone younger so they see what it was like not so long ago. It is funny, tragic, enlightening, inspiring and a gift to us all.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Ryan on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I've watched Belva Davis on local TV for decades. I was a Cal student in the '60s during the early days of the civil rights movement, while Belva covered many of these stories. It's hard to remember how much mis-treatment of African-Americans there was in the "liberal" bay area in those days. Belva's story vividly portrays, in a very personal way, what life was like in those days for those outside of mainstream America. I am amazed that she achieved so much professionally without succumbing to cynicism and bitterness. This book should be required reading in college courses on US history in the post-war years. Watch her on public television, and Read This Book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Belva Davis has lived an extraordinary life, and she shares the details none of us ever saw on screen in her memoir, Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman's Life in Journalism. Davis was the first black, female journalist to appear on television on the West Coast. An ambitious, confident woman, she grabbed every story and always delivered. She is considered the "Walter Cronkite of the Bay Area."

As a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up watching Belva Davis's energetic delivery. Her stories and interviews opened my eyes. After reading Never in My Wildest Dreams, I have a new appreciation for her background and her role as a model for racial equality and feminism.

She begins her memoir with a look back at San Francisco's 1964 Republican Convention, held before the Civil Rights Act became law. Sbe and her news director obtained spectator passes from a black reporter, after the mainstream media refused to give them press passes. They watched from the rafters, determined to report what white reporters might miss.

She writes about growing up in the Oakland projects, where she never had a bedroom and moved from one relative's house to another. With no money for San Francisco State, she took a job tracking ads for a small radio station.

Tiny in size but big in spirit, she accepted every story she was assigned. When CBS affiliate KPIX-TV offered her an on-camera position, she grabbed it. No matter what risk might be involved, she and her cameraman turned in one solid story after another.

She's covered the Vietnam War, the Black Panthers, UC Berkeley, the People's Temple, Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk. She was an early reporter of the AIDS epidemic, back when it was still called the Gay Cancer.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lola on March 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Oooh, I liked this book! Belva! Belva! Belva! I love biographies, and Belva takes the reader with her every step of her climb, from the newsgirl they bet wouldn't last 2 weeks, to the one the San Francisco Bay Area turned to for news. What an inspirational and honest look at history through the eyes of someone who witnessed it in the making! Belva champions anyone who's ever heard "Sorry we're just not hiring any... (you won't believe what he said!)" in one form or another, and she does it bravely, admitting the costs of such a career and entailing fame on her family (she was forced to confront a parent's worst fear). Don't go another day without reading this book, eyewitness the power of the human spirit in "Never in My Wildest Dreams".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By joe samuels on February 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great personal story of a brilliant woman of color in a field .. thought women were only window dressing for journalism..not to be taken seriously ..Belva changes all of that and tells her journey through eyes of person of color and a woman ..I can only imagine how many young women and espically third world young people have gone on in the world of journalism because of Belva davis efforts ...I know ..because my son is a senior producer in tv journalism.who revered Belva and now has her own words to encourage him in his work. Great book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Sterk on February 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Belva Davis has had a amazing life story, captured well in this intriguing book. From early hardships shared with many of her race to opportunities to meet and interview many of the great people of the 20th century, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lpvl on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Belva Davis is a national treasure. This book will interest those studying or interested in journalism, women's studies or the vast cultural changes of the 1960s in the US and California.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jan on March 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have watched Belva Davis for years on TV but I just saw her as a wonderful reporter. I liked her delivery style and what I perceived as fair and clear reporting. Now I have read her book. She is a remarkable person who has done far more for the country, the state, the county, city and civil rights than many others combined and she did it without demanding fireworks, extra recognition or bravado.
I was impressed with her writing style and the clean matter of fact way she told her story. Her fortitude and drive are amazing. Finding someone like her husband was a god send to her and she was smart enough to know it.
Three people have already read the one book I purchased and I expect anywhere from 2 to 3 more will borrow it too. Everyone is very impressed and we all feel part of her life is now in ours.
Thanks, Belva for the wonderful book.
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