"Reporter is just wonderful. Truly a great life, and what shines out of the book, amid the low cunning and tireless legwork, is Hersh's warmth and humanity. This book is essential reading for every journalist and aspiring journalist the world over." —John le Carré
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author and preeminent investigative journalist of our time—a heartfelt, hugely revealing memoir of a decades-long career breaking some of the most impactful stories of the last half-century, from Washington to Vietnam to the Middle East.
Seymour Hersh's fearless reporting has earned him fame, front-page bylines in virtually every major newspaper in the free world, honors galore, and no small amount of controversy. Now in this memoir he describes what drove him and how he worked as an independent outsider, even at the nation's most prestigious publications. He tells the stories behind the stories—riveting in their own right—as he chases leads, cultivates sources, and grapples with the weight of what he uncovers, daring to challenge official narratives handed down from the powers that be. In telling these stories, Hersh divulges previously unreported information about some of his biggest scoops, including the My Lai massacre and the horrors at Abu Ghraib. There are also illuminating recollections of some of the giants of American politics and journalism: Ben Bradlee, A. M. Rosenthal, David Remnick, and Henry Kissinger among them. This is essential reading on the power of the printed word at a time when good journalism is under fire as never before.
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A phenomenal look at American journalism
As a former Chicago City Hall reporter who landed at The Hall in 1976 and covered it through 1992, in the shadow of the towering figures of The FrontPage and the Boss era of Chicago politics, I have read every memoir on American journalism. One of my favorites is "The Boys on the Bus" by Timothy Crouse, my first official entre into the journalism world published in 1973. And then came the Watergate saga and the expose by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in 1974. Yet the heart of journalism from that era has been captured eloquently and in dramatic narration by Seymour Hersh, a pioneer of modernday journalism. From Chicago's Southside, I was amazed by stories that had never been told including his rise in community newspaper journalism starting before me at the Suburbanite Newspaper (Southtown Economist) running a small tabloid that covered the community news in Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn at a time when those two communities were th ecornerstones of the growing suburban lifestyle and the hegira of Whites from Chicago's beautiful neighborhoods in the face of realtor-driven racism and fear.
Hersh offers new material that has never really been explored about Chicago journalism, his difficulty in landing a job at the big newspapers. His role in launching his own newspaper, the Dispatch in Evergreen Park and Oak Lawn, a newspaper that had not been remembered but that should be the foundation of Chicagoland journalism history. His brief stint as the press secretary for presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy, and the startling behind-the-scenes insight that only Hersh could have recalled and documented. His expose on the My Lai massacre an dtracking down Lt. William Calley Jr., his coverage of the Nixon White House and competition with Woodward and Bernstein. And, his encounters with the Chicago Outfit and one of its braintrust Sydney Korshak.
Most important is his clarity, precision and honesty in detailing the biases that existed in the news media back in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, biases that don't even come close to what we see, sadly, in today's journalism world. He rose int he aftermath of The Front Page but he surely helped lay the concrete for Chicago and national journalism standards.
From page one through the end, the audio book is compelling and fascinating. So good that I just also purchased the hardcover because I have to go through it in even more documented detail.