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In Search of History: A Personal Adventure Hardcover – July, 1978
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Top Customer Reviews
In the next section, after completion of his education and after receiving employment as a reporter from Harry Luce at Time, White travels to Asia (1938-1945) to detail the three way struggle between the Japanese, Chiang K'ai-Shek (and his Nationalist forces), and Mao Tse-tung (and his Communist forces), with the U.S. supporting K'ai-Shek. While this era in China is all common knowledge and part of history, to see it the way that White writes it is to see it in an entirely new light. An example of this is when White takes the reader into the party conference (Communist), and reveals many details of Communist thinking that are rather unknown in the West. Also, here, as in almost any situation, White managed to ease his way into the confidence of these men of power, and therefore many parts of what he reveals in this book are not well known, such as how close the U.S. actually came to acieving harmony between the Nationalist and Communist forces. However, White's views on the matter of China differed sharply from those of his employer, Harry Luce (then owner of the Time-Life conglomerate), and so shortly after he left Asia he quit.
He next found employment from a variety of small papers and went to Europe (1948-1953) to detail the demilitarization of Germany and the reconstruction of the occupied countries. This section provides an excellent look at an era in history that has been forgotten by the majority of Americans. Take, for example, the European Joint Defense Force. This was a proposal under which all of the armies of the European nations would be joined as one. Long forgotten, this book sheds some new light on this fascinating proposal.
Next, White returns home to America (1954-1963), where he publishes several books. He next follows Senator John F. Kennedy through his campaign for president up to his assassination. He was an intimate of Kennedy's, and this section of his book provides an excellent look at that era. He tells of the tear-filled meeting between himself and Jacqueline Kennedy shortly after President Kennedy's death in which he wrote the story that was to label the Kennedy years as the "Camelot" era of American history.
This book provides an excellent and in depth look at the world from 1915-1963, from White's (a liberal's) point of view. I recommend this book to the casual, interested, or scholarly reader.
In part one, White discusses his early childhood, schooling, and life in Boston, 1915-1938. Each part is prefaced by a short unique "thoughtful" discussion. Part two introduces the reader to Asia, 1938-1945. White was there thru the Chinese revolution as a reporter. This is amazing. Part three is Europe - 1948-1953. Now I know what the Marshall Plan was all about. What insights this man had!
In part four White returns to America, 1954-1963. I remember this period but White offers the reader a behind the scenes look at politics and America in transition as Kennedy is elected, assassinated, and Johnson becomes president. In 1960 White won a Pulitzer prize for his book on the making of a president. He wrote for Colliers and Life magazines, Reader's Digest, and others. He knew all the presidents, many generals and world leaders personally, and wrote about them from his perspective.
I enjoyed this book so much I couldn't wait for "reading time" every evening - it is riveting and so easy to understand. Thirty-three years ago when "Teddy" White published this brilliant memoir of his action-packed life as a reporter, journalist, author and world traveller, he was on his way to being a major historian and player in the political process. He is relevant today. I urge anyone interested in great autobiographies to tackle this lively, honest book as well as Theodore H. White's essays and other books. Some were even made into movies. I'm impressed! Find a hardback copy somewhere and be surprised!