Tag Archives: Cronkite

Reflections on Brinkley’s Biography of Cronkite

On Wednesday, I present a synopsis of Douglas Brinkley‘s biography of Walter Cronkite.

The book, simply titled Cronkite (Harper, 2012) took me a summer to read, as it is over 1000 pages long.  It was worth it.

I presented it at a bonus program for the First Friday Book Synopsis, and for several associations and companies in Dallas.  Since it was never a best-seller, we did not feature it in a monthly presentation.

Brinkley has become one of our great biographers, and this one is almost novel-like in its content and construction.

Cronkite was known as the “most trusted man in America.”  His work for CBS News was strengthened by his initial work in newspapers.  He was truly a journalist, not a TelePrompTer reader.  His flexibility comes across again and again in the book, noting that it was never too late to get important news on the air in a broadcast.

This is a book you could read 25-50 pages a week over the summer and make a strong headway.  Maybe you could latch on to the content and even read it faster.

Douglas Brinkley photoCronkiteCover

Brinkley’s Omission is Sad

I consider Douglas Brinkley one of the top biographers of our time.  He has rapidly risen up the list.  Most recently, I thought his work, Cronkite, was really outstanding.  Douglas Brinkley photo

I have to admit to you that I was disappointed in the announcement that he chose not to include the Watergate tapes in his newest work on Nixon, entitled The Nixon Tapes:  1971-1972, co-authored with Luke A. Nichter (New York:  Houghton-Mifflin, 2014).

It is true that the tape content is readily available elsewhere.  What is not readily available is Brinkley’s take, analysis, and commentary on those tapes.

Anyone can listen to the tapes.  Anyone can also give his or her interpretation.  But “anyone” is not Brinkley. And, I am buying this to see what he says about the tapes as much as any other reason.

Nixon Tapes Book CoverThis will be a best-seller.  Brinkley’s books always are.

But, how much we may be missing when we don’t have this analysis?

My personal preference would have been to make two volumes.



If  you would like to read a recent review of this book published in the Wall Street Journal by John Lewis Gaddis on July 25, 2014, click here: