4 cassettes / 4 hours Read by the Author Also available on CD He has been called the most trusted man in America. His 60-year journalistic career has spanned the Great Depression, several wars, and the extraordinary changes that have engulfed our nation over the last two-thirds of the 20th century. When Walter Cronkite advised his television audience in 1968 that the war in Vietnam could not be won, President Lyndon B. Johnson said: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Here is Cronkite's remarkable autobiography: his growing up in Kansas City and Houston; his service as a war correspondent for United Press; his plunge into television when it was still an infant industry; his rise to anchorman of The CBS Evening News and its eventual dominance of the airwaves. Here is Cronkite covering space shots, political conventions, a coronation, the assassinations of the Kennedys and King. Here are Cronkite's portraits of presidents, his behind-the-scenes tales of politics and broadcasting, his vigorous views on the future of television and the presentation of news.
Today looking at Afghanistan his observations on the Vietnam War are worth repeating
When not to send troops
page 265 Ballentine Books paperback
"A corrupt, incompetent, unpopular government that we were committeed to support"
"An allied army that often preferred not to fight"
"A resourceful dedicated enemy resolved to struggle on regardless of casualties"
then there is also an early view of Cheney's attitude toward disclosure of vital information to the press
"Richard Cheney delayed tghe press call-up with full knowledge as he put it until it was too late to cover the crucial five hours of the invasion (Grenada).
In summary I would say this is a vital book to an understanding of the presidency in the last half of the 20th century as well as a vital history of the development of communications during that period.
Much of what even in 1996 the author has to say about the decline of responsible journalism in all forms (he speaks of one newspaper readings, of the move from information to entertainment)that is now increasing.
If it happened in the 60's, 70's, or early 80's, Cronkite covered it. The space race, the JFK assassination, the Vietnam war, Watergate, political conventions.
Cronkite's memoirs are modest (though sometimes a tad smug) and revealing.
Perhaps the most valuable portion of the book are its final pages, when he analyzes the gradual erosion of both broadcast and print journalism. He acknowledges the damage done by the increasingly cutthroat attention to the bottom line and the rise of the infotainment phenomenon.
He has been called the most trusted man in America. His 60-year-long journalistic career has spanned the Great Depression, several wars, and the extraordinary changes that have engulfed our nation over the last two-thirds of the 20th century. When Walter Cronkite advised his television audience in 1968 that the war in Vietnam could not be won, President Lyndon B. Johnson said: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."
The only flaw is that there were several events in his career that he seemed to touch on briefly that I would have liked to have seen expanded on, particularly his coverage of the space program, of which he was an unabashed admirer.
All in all, though, a fast and fascinating read.