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Audition: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 6, 2008
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*Starred Review* Audition might seem an odd title for this long-awaited autobiography. After all, who is more established in the public’s mind than the iconic Walters? But that’s what is so terrific about this book. Walters really does let readers see what’s behind her TV persona, and in many ways, what she reveals is an insecure woman whose life has been one audtion after another. The daughter of a night-club impresario and a mother who wanted a more stable life, Walters moved a lot, ever the new kid. But the greatest influence on her young life was her mildly retarded sister, who evoked in Walters both love and guilt. Her family’s ups and downs led her to believe that one day she would be financially responsible for them, and that eventually happened. But as Walters makes clear, this insecurity is also what propelled her forward; her strong work ethic and some good timing also helped to shape her amazing career. However, all that success came at a price. It affected her marriages and her daughter, and it engendered amazing hostility from male colleagues unwilling to give this pioneer a break. For readers of a certain age, much of the pleasure of the book comes in remembering along with Walters: her star interviews, her trip to the Bay of Pigs with Castro, her talks with kings, queens, and presidents. Then there’s dish on what really happened behind the scenes at The View. A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself. --Ilene Cooper
“Audition is brutally honest, both about Walters and those she's worked with. Readers won't be left wondering what she thinks of anything, or anyone, for that matter. . . . It's a fascinating look at a woman who has lived a fascinating life.”
–Laura L. Hutchison, The Free Lance-Star
“[Walters’] heartfelt candor lifts this book above mere titillation. . . . blended with this personal drama is a delightful tale of the golden age of television . . . Through 50-plus chapters, you feel as though you’ve enjoyed a year of weekly lunches with Walters . . . She regales you with the juicy behind-the-scenes details of the celebrities she’s interviewed, mixed in with stories of her own trials and tribulations. In the end, you envy her a little less and admire her more.”
–Kathleen Matthews, Washington Post
“…the book is a triumph!”
—Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic
“…the grande dame of TV news has written a blockbuster. . . . Readers will gobble up the excerpts from scores of interviews with world leaders, politicians, celebrities and murderers.”
–Kathleen Daley, New York Sun
“an indispensable book along with a surefire monster best seller…intensely readable…She’s TV’s original monarch and superstar where power, show business and journalism converge. It’s Barbara Walters’ world, and the rest of us just live in it. [Her] mammoth memoir, doesn’t just touch chords, it’s a 600-plus page oratorio.”
–Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
–Rebecca Traister, Salon.com
“Ms. Walters’s story is greatly humanized by the family memoir that colors her long litany of professional successes.”
–Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“an unusually ambitious and successful book. …suffused with an emotional intensity…it belongs to a part of American culture that Walters helped invent.”
–Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker
“She doesn’t shy from the tough stuff… Nor does Walters, an entertainer as much as a ground-breaking journalist, skimp on the fun bits.”
–Allison Adato, People
“…the crowning glory of a remarkable career…”
–Liz Smith, New York Post
–Jo Piazza, New York Daily News
“…compulsively readable… [Walters] gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she's interviewed, this mammoth memoir's energy never flags.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred)
“A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself.”
–Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred)
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This is a readable (if not brilliantly crafted) story of a woman with a troubled personal life who fashioned a remarkable and fulfilling career for herself. At the beginning she just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Still, she struggled to gain a foothold in a man's world. The insider's account of TV news shows warts and all (alcoholism, male chauvinism, reckless measures to get the first interview with newsmakers). Walters also shares her own personal insecurities. This is both a grand story of a life fully lived, and a rather touching personal account and self-examination. Yes, she fawns somewhat over various political and entertainment figures. Still, I found the book to be very readable, it never dragged in spite of its length, and I feel privileged to know her better after reading this book.