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P.S., a Memoir Hardcover – October 1, 1995


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What If? by Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, find hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312135785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312135782
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,245,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Press secretary to presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Salinger has written an engaging, whirlwind memoir. Both a participant in and an observer of history, he provides intimate glimpses of John Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis as well as an eyewitness account of Robert Kennedy's assassination. A child-prodigy pianist, born in San Francisco in 1925 to an American Jewish mining engineer of German descent and a French Catholic mother, Salinger at the age of 19 commanded a ship in the South Pacific during WWII; he served on a Senate antiracketeering committee that helped break Jimmy Hoffa's power and became a U.S. senator from California for five months in 1964. As Paris bureau chief for ABC News, he established back-channel negotiations in the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, and covered stories ranging from Irish Republican Army terrorism to the Persian Gulf war. Now a vice-chairman of Burson-Marsteller, a PR firm in Washington, D.C., he writes guardedly of his four marriages and of personal tragedies (his son Marc committed suicide in 1977). Of note, Salinger divulges his 1989 meeting in Moscow in which Gorbachev told an American delegation that the Soviets had had 50,000 troops in Cuba in the fall of 1962?five times as many as the U.S. had presumed; Gorbachev also disclosed that Castro had urged Khrushchev to launch a missile attack.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

"One of the best things about writing a memoir," Salinger confesses, "as opposed to a more formal book that covers both history and politics is that the rules aren't as rigid." In general, his memoir's organization reflects this observation, which is not to say that the book is not fascinating. Salinger traces his life from his days as a child piano prodigy to his forays into journalism at the San Franciso Chronicle and Collier's to serving as JFK's press secretary (the story of which is covered in more detail in his earlier With Kennedy) to his 148-day career as an appointed U.S. senator to the assassination of Robert Kennedy to a distinguished career with ABC-TV News and finally to his current position as an international public relations executive. He is candid; he has been married four times and admits his philandering. This is not a book you put down easily. Recommended for all libraries.
-?Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
This book details the life of Pierre Salinger, journalist, politician, and businessman. Salinger grew up in California during the 1930s. After service in the Navy during World War II, he became a journalist (following in his French mother's footsteps). After a few early successes in investigative journalism involving the California prison system, he was assigned to cover the corruption and possible mob involvement in the Teamsters' Union during the 1950s. When he heard that Robert Kennedy was leading a government investigation of the Teamsters' Union, he approached Kennedy with an offer to compare notes and join forces. This began a lifelong relationship between Salinger and the Kennedy family. When John Kennedy decided to run for president, he asked Salinger to help with his campaign, and following Kennedy's electoral victory, Salinger became his White House press secretary. Salinger was also involved in Robert Kennedy's and George McGovern's presidential campaigns. He spent five months in the Senate after he was appointed to fill the term of a friend who had died. When he lost his own bid for the Senate, he departed the US for Europe, where he had a twenty year career as a journalist.

Salinger begins the book by telling us he once considered running for president himself, but decided that the lack of respect today's journalists show for the private lives of public figures would be too daunting for his family. Four times married, Salinger readily admits to marital infidelities in the past. In this book, he juxtaposes the successes in his public life with the shambles of his private life, but he notes that he seems to finally have gotten things straight by his fifth decade.

The Kennedy years were very exciting for Salinger.
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By R. Stout on July 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Was privileged to spend a few days with Mr. Salinger and his wife Poppy back in 2001. He is a fascinating man, and I thoroughly enjoyed his memoir. I remember the Kennedy years well, and yet still found things here that I was not a aware of. One of the best books I've read in some time....
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Brooks VINE VOICE on December 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"PS a memoir" by Pierre Salinger was a disappointment for this reader. My only motivation to read this book was the fact that he was press secretary in the Kennedy and, for a few months, in the Johnson administration. Here was a man, a journalist by trade, whom I presumed would be able to provide candid insights from behind the curtain of myth and disinformation.

I can understand reticence immediately after the fact but this book was published in 1995, thirty years have passed since his tenure in the White House, most of the dramatis personae have passed on - for histories sake sir, tell us what really happened, or at least what you heard or saw. Alas, Mr. Salinger is a keeper of secrets and a perpetuator of myths without equal. You will not read a disparaging word or even a hint of scandal concerning the Kennedy's. No bits about the scandal plagued West Virginia primary, or of Old Joe Kennedy meddling in his son's Presidency, Kennedy's health issues or of sexual trysts and Sinatra's rat-pack parties. I just wish the author gave a more balanced and truthful first hand report instead of the usual public relations jazz. No, I do not expect to hear about all the dirty laundry but in this account it never existed at all!

I will admit the Mr. Salinger has had a full and eventful life. His breezy writing style and self-depreciating humor are welcomed. Ultimately though this book is next to useless to the inquisitive student of history and I seriously doubt it will listed in the bibliographies of Presidential historians.

Mr. Salinger mentions his other Kennedy related books in the text. I think they call that product placement in the movies. I am not inclinded to read them because of my objections mentioned above. Nonetheless if you are interested just search Amazon and I sure to can buy them for a few cents..plus S&H of course!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Traill VINE VOICE on November 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
I did not know a great deal about the author until I read his book. I knew he had been JFK's press secretary, but that was about it. Pierre Salinger never set out to be a press secretary, serving in World War II, then becoming a journalist along the way.
Salinger's interesting experiences on the Senate investigation of the Teamsters, and his later involvement with the Kennedys is very interesting, as are the anecdotes he provides about the days of the Kennedy administration. Following those years, he expands again into other ventures, even more surprising, leaving him with a life closer to Forrest Gump than many will ever have.
For information on the inner workings of the JFK campaign and White House, this book is invaluable, but is unfortunately too short. The book itself is not long, and can be read by a persistent reader in no time.
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