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The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News Hardcover – March 25, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1 edition (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586485768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485764
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,112,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mudd's memoir, based on his own notes and extensive interviews, looks back at his 20 years in the CBS News Washington bureau. Mudd, about to turn 80, left CBS in anger when he was passed over to succeed Walter Cronkite, going on to report for NBC and narrate at the History Channel before retiring. But by his own admission, he "never truly ceased being a CBS man." Although he does not mask his bitterness about the Cronkite succession or hesitate to detail the shortcomings of his fellow journalists (especially Dan Rather), Mudd has written a mostly affectionate memoir. The anecdotes about his former colleagues are often humorous, occasionally nasty, but rarely gratuitous, and he is equally unsparing of himself. Mudd's aim is to educate his readers about how first-rate television journalism used to occur more frequently than it does today, and he is a fine teacher. In addition, he fills the book with stories about the politicians and bureaucrats he covered, most memorably the Kennedy brothers and U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Mudd's writing is smooth, his tone approachable, and readers old enough to have watched CBS News during the Mudd years are likely to feel nostalgia. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Finally, somebody has chronicled what it takes to practice quality journalism on network television. Roger Mudd has done so in a way that is one great large story made up of many great small stories that results in a book that, in the reading, is like eating peanuts. You can't put it down. Open the package--the book--and there is pleasure, meaning, laughter, annoyance, grins, frowns to behold on most every page. Mudd has superbly recounted the saga of CBS News Washington at a time of history and journalism that was important to him, his profession and his country. This is a book that matters." -- Jim Lehrer

"Mudd, Rather, Severeid , Kalb and Schorr. They were all household names and I felt a Little Leaguer coming to bat in Yankee Stadium when I joined the bureau in 1969. Roger Mudd was the best of all of us, and he tells the whole story of those days as only he could--the titanic battles with the government and our rivalries with each other mixed in with some of the funniest political yarns I have ever heard. I laughed out loud and even shed a tear or two. The Place to Be is the perfect example of what a professional memoir ought to be." -- Bob Schieffer, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent

"When Roger Mudd delivered the CBS Evening News, Americans paid attention. From early his days as a budding broadcaster, through his coverage of the Senate filibuster debate over Civil Rights, to his devastating Peabody-Award-winning interview with Ted Kennedy, Mudd demonstrates why CBS was The Place To Be. He candidly recounts the gritty details behind the scenes, and the power struggles among the people shaping network news. In the end, we understand the glories and disappointments of a career in the heyday of television news. Every person concerned with the direction of today's news would do well to take in the lessons of this book." -- Diane Rehm, National Public Radio

"The Place to Be is a cautionary tale about Mr. Mudd's own honorable career and by implication about the way network TV news has devolved into today's mix of frantic cable blather." -- Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2008

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Customer Reviews

The book is definitely worth reading and the pages turn very easily.
Nancy A. Norman
Roger Mudd was a mainstay of CBS News and saw great political and congressional leaders for years, and some of them are seen here.
Ed Howell
THE PLACE TO BE is an easy read, funny and affectionate and sometimes surprising.
Michael OConnor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roman P on April 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I had the honor of meeting and befriending Roger Mudd in the early 1990s. Even today, I still recall the clarity of his dialogue, the warmness of his character and the sharpness of his observations about the world -- and the profound changes it was undergoing, then as now. Roger Mudd has the unique and rare ability to tell us the news--the story--as it is, and not as we would expect or want it to be. He is a exquisite observer of the human condition--a consummate story teller--and an advocate for that rarest of qualities these days - truth and integrity in reporting. Its a must read for every concerned world citizen, tired of propaganda and desperate for someone with the unique ability to educate and inform us - without prejudice or bias. Simply, an important and fabulous book by a talented and humane author.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jack Grady on April 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You need to move it up your priority list to MUST READ status.
You'll understand the world of News and Media and appreciate
what reporters and anchors of "Integrity" have to face to be "great"
and to stay on the air!!!! I Never could figure out why he (Roger) didn't replace Cronkite; now I know! The "Black Rock" turned varing shades of "bean-pusher grey" after Mr. Paley died. Mr. & Mrs. Moonves' CBS pales by comparison to Mr. Paley's BLACK ROCK!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott Billigmeier on April 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Roger Mudd's fine book evokes a different and more comforting era. Like his friend Jim Lehrer who still delivers new this way, he writes in an even and measured cadence. His topical span is great and in some areas, such as the Kennedy family, the depth will also delight those devoted to the subject - not to say, however, that they will like everything they read about the political trio. If you've heard or seen Mudd's recent radio and television interviews the book delivers just what you'd expect. While the events he covers should be at least vaguely familiar to most adults, many of the political and journalistic characters (Long, Friendly, Sevareid, etc.) may be lost on those born after the Baby Boom years. Largely but not entirely free of angst, it is an altogether quick and pleasant retrospective read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nancy A. Norman on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book after having seen a live interview with Roger Mudd. Roger Mudd was a part of my growing up and I have always had a great deal of respect for him. Roger is a great human being and tells his story with a great deal of clarity and humor. It was wonderful to hear about the experiences he had during his career with Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, Martin Kalb,Robert Kennedy, etc. - it brought back such wonderful memories. Roger has had a very meaningful life and remains one of my favorites. The book is definitely worth reading and the pages turn very easily.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book takes me back to the time when watching the evening news was a big deal. It was something you did before dinner every night. Roger Mudd was always one of my favorites, with his seemingly casual and calm manner. Hearing about the news business from his perspective was interesting and revealing. Reading his book was a pleasure and I recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
From the late 1950s to 1980 I, like countless Americans, was a devoted fan of CBS News. Anchored by Walter Cronkite, CBS News boasted a galaxy of gifted correspondents who covered those exciting, horrifying, puzzling years with unrivaled professionalism. To my mind, Roger Mudd was first among equals as regards a CBS team that included Dan Rather, Marvin and Bernard Kalb, Daniel Schoor, Eric Sevareid, George Herman, Bob Peirpoint, Bob Schieffer and so many other talented individuals. THE PLACE TO BE is Mudd's informative, witty and entertaining memoir of those glory years.

As with 'Uncle Walter,' Roger Mudd always impressed me as an insightful, unflappable and discerning newsman. Beyond that he seemed to possess a touch of irreverence that sometimes revealed itself in a 'Do you believe this?' twinkle in his eye when he was reporting on the latest Congressional boondoggle. Those same qualities are in evidence throughout Mudd's book, most of which is devoted to the period from May 1961, when he became a CBS correspondent, to February 1980, when he walked because of the boneheaded decision to give Dan Rather the anchor position.

Reading through THE PLACE TO BE is akin to revisiting all the important - and a few not-so-important - news events and personalities that shaped the American experience. We are immersed once again in the Civil rights struggle, the years of JFK, the Cuban Missile Crisis, LBJ and the Great Society, Vietnam, various political conventions, Congressional doings, etc.; the difference being an incisive, knowledgeable guide who helped cover and explain those momentous events to us then...and now.

Obviously part of the delight in Mudd's book is the insider's view of the CBS newsroom and finding out what happened when and who did what.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David L. Spear on May 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Roger Mudd certainly was in the right places at the right times. His accounts of the civil rights act filabuster and Watergate are intrguing. His strained relationship with Dan Rather might have used some more development in the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Conor Cunneen on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Roger Mudd writes that he came across as `glowering and grim' on TV. Having lived in Ireland during the so-called "glory days of television news," I can't comment on that, but this book does lack personality which is its biggest weakness. Mudd worked in a massively interesting news era, ranging from Vietnam, the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy and Watergate, but he fails to bring any of them alive or present any interesting insights into them.

Mudd's comments about some of his co-workers are often less than complimentary especially Dan Rather who beat the author out to replace Walter Cronkite. I read the book because I wanted a better understanding of the US during these turbulent years. Not sure if I got that, but if you were a fan of Mudd, CBS or Cronkite during the 60's and 70's, this is a book you might enjoy as it is more about CBS and inside politics than anything else. In fairness, this is what the title suggests.
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