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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Elegant Portrayal
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...
Published on May 8, 2012 by Jerry Dean

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
Many fascinating anecdotes, but lacking distance from the subject. The author seems to have been too much of a Bradlee fan to provide balance.
Published on January 16, 2013 by Ranger


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Elegant Portrayal, May 8, 2012
This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (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. Here he is again, mentoring a young, up-and-coming writer, daring him to take chances, daring him to follow the truth, urging him to leave aside his personal relationships to reveal what he finds. This is the editorial leadership that made Bradlee the deserving legend that he has become. To watch it play out before our eyes in his own biography is riveting. Himmelman shows his fine literary skill in bringing this dynamic to light in the subtlest of ways.

Whether you are a history buff, a political junkee, a newspaper hound, or just enjoy a great non-fiction read, this is a must-have for the summer.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing - and not just for journalism junkies..., May 8, 2012
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This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written account of legendary Post Editor, May 9, 2012
By 
J. Cross (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, May 10, 2012
This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all, June 15, 2012
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This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (Hardcover)
I purchased this book because I wanted to find out more about the life and career of Ben Bradlee. I had never even heard of him prior to reading his book "With Kennedy," but I found his and his wife's friendship with JFK and Jackie Kennedy to be fascinating. I wanted to read more about this and to learn more about the death of Bradlee's sister-in-law, Mary Meyer. "Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee" provided all that information and more. The work is well-written, painstakingly and exhaustively researched and while it is clear that the author thinks very highly of Bradlee, he does not avoid discussion of negative incidents in Bradlee's life. Since Bradlee and The Washington Post are inseparable, the book contains a great deal of extremely interesting information about the Post, about Phil and Katharine Graham and other journalists and about the storied history of the competition between the Post and the New York Times. I highly recommend this book, which I found to be deeply engrossing and highly readable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner, May 31, 2012
This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (Hardcover)
Some readers might think it's a mark against Jeff Himmelman and his book, Yours in Truth: a Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee, that Bradlee's wife, Sally Quinn and super star journalist Bob Woodward
are no longer talking to him.

On the other hand you could take this shunning as a sign of the author's courage to write things about Ben Bradlee, Quinn and Woodward that often are not discussed, at last openly.
He paints Quinn as an unsympathetic stepmother/Boss Lady and Woodward as an ethically challenged journalist. Bradlee comes across as charismatic, but emotionally detached.

But the real strength in Himmelman's book is in his compelling re-telling of the Watergate/Washington Post story. Given extraordinary access to Bradlee's papers, the author has successfully recreated the political climate of the early 1970's, bringing to life Kay Graham,Carl Bernstein, H. R. Haldemann and the other characters who became household names during the Watergate scandal.

This book is well written and engaging. I highly recommend it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Window to History, May 10, 2012
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This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (Hardcover)
'Yours In Truth' is a really great read about the last 50 years of Ben Bradlee's life. I have been unable to put the book down since downloading it 3 days ago.

The book puts you in the room for Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, JFK and other memorable parts of American History. I think the Author Jeff Himmelman does a tremendous job of taking 60 boxes of papers and putting them into a very digestible form. The relationship between Jeff and Ben is really what gives this book so much heart.

And if you love Watergate you will learn facts in this book that have never come to light anywhere else. This is a great summer read for anyone interested in politics, history or journalism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, January 16, 2013
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Many fascinating anecdotes, but lacking distance from the subject. The author seems to have been too much of a Bradlee fan to provide balance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Challenge of Seeking and Sharing "Truth", May 20, 2012
This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (Hardcover)
Himmelman's experience of becoming a family friend while writing the biography of Bradlee's medically challenged son and his unlimited access to the archives of the legendary Washington Post editor produce a remarkable book. Media attacks by Bradlee's wife and most famous reporter -- Sally Quinn and Bob Woodward -- reflect not betrayal but their inability to handle truth. Woodward's forty-year denial of illegal access to a Watergate juror is placed in such a doubtful light he might have every reason to be concerned. Descriptions of Quinn's controlling actions which have alienated friends as well as the children from Bradlee's previous marriages is undoubtedly cause for her resentment.

Although Bradlee -- now in his nineties -- has memory issues that perhaps create his lack of comment, readers can suspect that he would admire Himmelman's journalistic integrity in attempting to describe his idol as truthfully as he could discern it. Bradlee has human flaws but his honesty was a badge he wore with pride. Himmelman gives him detailed credit for building the Washington Post into the capitol's newspaper of record while crediting Kay and Don Graham for the support that allowed him to do so.

The book covers what for many readers will be history, but for me the highlight of the story is Himmelman's description and analysis of the Watergate investigative reports and Janet Cooke's fictitious story of a child drug addict. They contrast the best and worst examples during Bradlee's tenure as editor of his belief that journalism requires trust in your reporters and editors. Himmelman does an outstanding job of portraying the courage Bradlee and Graham required to report the illegal activities and coverup which led to the impeachment of a sitting president even when criticized by politicians and journalism peers and threatened by serious advertising losses. He does an equally even-handed job of describing the climate in which a young black woman was hired based upon an inaccurate resume and wrote a ficticious Pulitizer prize winning story which devastated the newspaper's credibility.

"Yours in Truth" describes a newspaper era committed to journalistic integrity. Himmelman's book exhibits the courage to maintain that standard.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Perspective on History-Changing Events, May 8, 2012
By 
John Archer (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee (Hardcover)
Jeff Himmelman clearly came to know Ben Bradlee and his work better than even Ben's closest friends. He has read every letter and document and listened to every tape recording in Bradlee's vast archive. As a result, this book offers a fascinating insider's tour through some of our nation's most troubled times -- the only time when a president was forced to resign. It also offers a full understanding of the man himself and how his combination of genius, energy, and interpersonal skills allowed him to build a great American newspaper -- a feat we are unlikely to ever see again. Himmelman's discovery of Bradlee's doubts about the full truth of Woodward and Bernstein's explanation of their sources, especially his discovery that their source "Z" was a grand juror sworn to secrecy, notwithstanding Woodward's denials even as recently as last year, just adds to the strength of his portrait of Bradlee -- a man who could keep his focus on the all-important "big picture" despite a few doubts about the details. For anyone who lived through this time, this book is a must read -- it will trigger many memories. For those too young to have experienced it personally, it will provide crucial understandings of how our free press works in practice. For all readers, Himmelman's beautiful and sensitive writing will trigger may smiles and tears. (Thanks Amazon for your prompt delivery!)
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Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee
Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee by Jeff Himmelman (Hardcover - May 8, 2012)
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