In this engaging memoir of television news and its unique place in history, New York Times bestselling author and Face the Nation anchor Bob Schieffer takes us behind the scenes of the Sunday morning institution that has provided a window on the most memorable events of the last half-century.
With his critically acclaimed memoir This Just In, Schieffer proved himself a natural storyteller, a gifted writer able to capture the workings of television news with remarkable wit and insight. Now Schieffer focuses his keen reporter's eye on 50 years of Face the Nation's live broadcasts and the historic moments the program has captured. From its 1954 debut, an interview with Senator Joe McCarthy the day before the Senate debate that would condemn him, to the broadcast's 1957 groundbreaking interview with a candid and controversial Nikita Khrushchev; from the brilliant analysis of communism made by guest Martin Luther King Jr. to the sometimes stunning, always revealing interviews with each sitting president; from the heroic and moving coverage of the terrorist attacks of September 11 to the revolutionary coverage of the war in Iraq, Schieffer shares unforgettable anecdotes about the guests, the stories and the events captured by the venerable public affairs program.
Marked by the author's candid personal observations and wise, good humor, Bob Schieffer's look at 50 years of Face the Nation shines an entertaining and nostalgic light on America's presidents, culture, foreign policy and domestic affairs.
Schieffer began moderating CBS's Face the Nation in 1991. In the 50 years since the Sunday series' November 7, 1954, debut, 4,862 key newsmakers have appeared on 2,450 broadcasts. For this work, Schieffer interviewed broadcasting notables (Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, etc.) and drew on the resources of the CBS News Library, sifting through press releases, newspaper clippings and show transcripts. He opens by recounting how CBS chief Frank Stanton and CBS founder William S. Paley teamed up to make the "Tiffany network" a broadcasting giant. Stanton, now 96, told Schieffer how he created Face the Nation to match NBC's Meet the Press: "We needed a broadcast where newsmakers could be questioned in a live setting. NBC had one and we didn't.... e had the responsibility to provide one." Writing with warmth, wit and insight, Schieffer looks back at significant events and personalities from the civil rights movement and Vietnam to anthrax and Iraq, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Bill Clinton's "Oval Office trysts," from the Pentagon Papers to the Pentagon on 9/11. His perspective expands beyond the confines of the TV studio to become a memoir of milestones in 20th-century history. Photos.