Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
Engrossing - and not just for journalism junkies...
on May 8, 2012
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.