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Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee Hardcover – May 8, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068470
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“The absolute best nonfiction book of the year . . . a work of journalistic art . . . history straight and true . . . should be required reading at the Columbia School of Journalism.”—Chicago Tribune
“A fairly complete and rare portrait of this last of the lion-king newspaper editors . . . deftly curates previously published material, boring in on the newly revealed and revealing, ultimately creating the best Bradlee biography we’re likely to get.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Surprising and compulsively readable . . . Himmelman’s chapters on Watergate are especially masterful, untangling that web in a fresh and comprehensible way.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A sparkling, revealing, definitely controversial, and very readable book . . . highly amusing, particularly for any connoisseur of juicy modern American politics.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The bold brilliance of Jeff Himmelman’s Yours in Truth comes through because it is not simply a biography of a quixotic figure who changed the timbre of American newspapers. Rather, it is also a riveting history lesson with fastidiously researched facts intertwined with first-person observations.”—Charleston Post and Courier
“Embedded in Yours in Truth there are fundamental insights about journalism and the role of a dynamic press.”—The Atlantic
“The biographer either sells his soul for the cozy dinners or bails for the truth. Himmelman chose the latter.”—The Huffington Post
“Riveting new life of one of America’s greatest editors.”—The Daily Beast

About the Author

Jeff Himmelman has worked on two national bestsellers, Bob Woodward’s Maestro and Tim Russert’s Big Russ & Me, and was the co-author of A Different Life with Quinn Bradlee. He has written for The Washington Post and The New York Times Magazine; his work with Woodward and a team of other reporters helped The Post secure the national reporting Pulitzer Prize for its post-9/11 coverage. He is also a professional musician who writes, records, and performs under the name Down Dexter. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

And if you love Watergate you will learn facts in this book that have never come to light anywhere else.
This association provided a connection to the subject and access to Bradlee personally as well as professionally.
G.I Gurdjieff
Once the book was released, Sally Quinn, Ben Bradlee and Bob Woodward pilloried Jeff for telling the truth.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Dean on May 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a simply outstanding book. Himmelman has a unique style that blends top-flight journalism with a distinctive personal voice. As you read, he takes you right into the boxes he spent countless hours wading through to get a sense of Bradlee's amazing life. It's impossible not to come away from Yours In Truth without realizing that Bradlee was a last icon of a different media age. In some ways, we learn, he began the era we all know so well. Himmelman's chapters on how Bradlee brought the Post into our modern era are illuminating and important. Bradlee was the one, for example, who really set in motion the whole concept of a "Style" section in a major newspaper - hard to imagine now that it wasn't ever so. From Bradlee's relationship with Katharine Graham, to his hob-nobbing with JFK, to his enormous gift for the pithy letter, we come to know a man who, like him or not, is driven by an absolute commitment to journalistic excellence. If Himmelman errs on the side of adoration, the book makes it clear that there is a long line of tough judges in front of him who reached the same conclusion about Bradlee.

But what really sets this book apart is Himmelman's own personal relationship to Bradlee and his world. The dynamic between the three reporters - Bradlee, Woodward and Himmelman - has a literary drama all its own. Much has been made in the press about Bradlee's doubts about Woodward's veracity on a few details. What's interesting when you read the whole story in the book is how much more revealing Woodward's reaction is than the so-called "revelation" itself. It's a Freudian drama if ever there was one. In fact, what we see in the book is the very essence of Bradlee that Himmelman describes.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By KarynFitzpatrick on May 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is SUCH a wonderful book. I'm a journalism instructor/adviser, and I was lucky enough to be given an early copy by a friend in the press. I had been intrigued by some of the press coverage and was eager to see what the book had to say vs. the Washington press machine. Boy was I in for a treat. I can't think of the last time that I read a non-fiction book in basically one sitting. The content is incredible - just the primary material that Himmelman has found stands on its own. But what makes it so special is Himmelman's unique style. He manages to be at once totally historically and journalistically rigorous, and at the same time refreshingly casual and approachable as a narrator. He is unquestionably a character in the book - always a tough thing to pull off - but he finds the right balance between the moments of being a highly present narrator and moments of being a more removed guide through the primary materials.

I approached the book expecting to find the topic relevant given my professional life, but I really had no idea how totally enthralling the material would be. Himmelman took me on a complete journey through history, through emotions, and, most importantly, through Ben Bradlee's life. I am now dreaming about Bradlee's life and legacy, and I've only just begun to internalize the many lessons he teaches us about how to live life, how to lead, and how to stand up to power (even once you become part of the establishment). I know that I learned so very much, but it was so breezy along the way! I've never had such a pleasant experience reading a non-fiction biography.

I highly recommend this book, not just to journalism junkies like me, but to anyone looking for an enjoyable, enlightening read. But be prepared that once you start reading, you won't want to put it down. Kudos to Himmelman for this beautiful, personal portrait, as the subtitle very accurately advertises.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Cross on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a phenomenal book.

Himmelman has uncovered a treasure of letters, memos, and interviews that, on their own, add color to a larger-than-life character in Bradlee. A natural storyteller, Himmelman artfully weaves this material together into a beautiful narrative about a man who has reported on, and been involved in, so many pivotal events in recent times.

Himmelman puts the reader in the middle of all the action. Through much of the book I felt like I was in the newsroom with Bradlee and his team of reporters. Other times I was in a room alone with Bradlee, soaking in his hilarious but always provocative quotes, which always seemed to include a few four-letter words.

You certainly don't need to know anything about Ben Bradlee, Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, or journalism for that matter to enjoy this book. It's simply a great read, with an unforgettable leading character.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Adam O'Byrne on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I knew very little about Bradlee before opening this book and what I did know was gleaned from the less than 10 minutes of Jason Robards' screen time in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. Himmelman offers an informative, gripping and vital portrait of Bradlee, and frank, compelling sketches of many of Bradlee's colleagues, friends and enemies. While the media has focused on the new Watergate details and Bob Woodward's rather bizarre response (especially strange given Himmelman's tremendously even-handed approach to the whole situation), the book is much, much more than the latest scoop in that saga. With his personal and delightfully casual style, Himmelman takes his reader through the many ups and occasional downs of Bradlee's career making remarkable use of Bradlee's and others' correspondence. Himmelman is the ideal guide: letting the players in these events speak for themselves and finding just the right spots to make his own presence felt. Towards the end of the book, Himmelman talks about the joy that Bradlee brought to his job as Executive Editor and credits this joy with being instrumental to Bradlee's success. Himmelman clearly had a great time writing this book (he got to meet Paul McCartney, for god's sake!!!) and the joy with which he tackled the subject matter is apparent on every page.
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