From Publishers Weekly
The barbs start flying on page one (Bush critic Joseph Wilson: What an asshole!) and continue to nearly the end (CNN correspondent Ed Henry: duplicitous phony) of this thick memoir by the conservative journalist and pundit. Novak recounts his journey from Associated Press cub reporter through longtime Evans and Novak columnist scooping up Beltway political dirt to ubiquitous talk-show talking head. Along the way he drinks and gambles, battles liberal media bias, wrangles contracts with cable channels, settles scores with critics (more-hawkish-than-thou pundit David Frum is a cheat and a liar), defends his outing of Valerie Plame and tosses in many old columns, which read like a seismograph tracing of political microtremors (Melvin Laird to be Nixon's defense secretary!). More tantalizing are the glimpses of his relations with official sources, who know they won't be attacked in print as long as they give good tips. Novak's insider perspective, vitriolic pen and damn-the-torpedoes frankness make it a lively and eye-opening account of big-foot journalism. (July)
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Novak immediately cuts to the chase, beginning this memoir with his first in-person encounter with Joseph Wilson, in the green room of NBC's Meet the Press
in 2003. Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, would eventually form the center of a major career-jeopardizing controversy for Novak, who is blunt in his immediate low opinion of the man. And that characteristic bluntness reigns throughout as he recalls 50 years of political reporting. He was working for the Associated Press when he met his mentor, Willard Edwards of the Chicago Tribune,
a "diehard right-wing Republican who was part of the Red-hunting establishment." Edwards is only one of the fascinating characters--both reporters and politicos--appearing throughout the book, including John and Bobby Kennedy, George W. Bush, Ted Turner, and Novak's former partner, Rowland Evans. He is frank and unapologetic about his work, his viewpoints, and his personal shortcomings. Ambitious and, for a while, very much a part of the liquor-soaked Washington power scene, Novak neglected his family. True to his conservative beliefs and sentiments, he traces the trajectory of Republican influence and his disagreement with Republican presidents. Novak also traces the growth of Washington from a sleepy town to a power center, prone to treacherous machinations. Having traveled through the chronology of news events of the past 50 years, Novak returns to the Plame Affair, detailing the fallout of his column "outing" Plame as a CIA agent and expresses no regrets. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved