Audition: A Memoir

Audition: A Memoir

3.7 117
by Barbara Walters
     
 

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Young people starting out in television sometimes say to me: “I want to be you.” My stock reply is always: “Then you have to take the whole package.”

And now, at last, the most important woman in the history of television journalism gives us that “whole package,” in her inspiring and riveting memoir. After more than

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Overview

Young people starting out in television sometimes say to me: “I want to be you.” My stock reply is always: “Then you have to take the whole package.”

And now, at last, the most important woman in the history of television journalism gives us that “whole package,” in her inspiring and riveting memoir. After more than forty years of interviewing heads of state, world leaders, movie stars, criminals, murderers, inspirational figures, and celebrities of all kinds, Barbara Walters has turned her gift for examination onto herself to reveal the forces that shaped her extraordinary life.

Barbara Walters’s perception of the world was formed at a very early age. Her father, Lou Walters, was the owner and creative mind behind the legendary Latin Quarter nightclub, and it was his risk-taking lifestyle that made Barbara aware of the ups and downs that can occur when someone is willing to take great risks.

The financial responsibility for her family, the fear, the love all played a large part in the choices she made as she grew up: the friendships she developed, the relationships she had, the marriages she tried to make work.
Ultimately, thanks to her drive, combined with a decent amount of luck, she began a career in television. And what a career it has been! Against great odds, Barbara has made it to the top of a male-dominated industry.

She has spent a lifetime auditioning, and this book, in some ways, is her final audition, as she fully opens up both her private and public lives. In doing so, she has given us a story that is heartbreaking and honest, surprising and fun, sometimes startling, and always fascinating.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
…[a] legitimately star-studded autobiography…the portrait of a deftly calculating woman with an impeccable sense of timing…There will never be another television news career like this one.
—The New York Times
Kathleen Matthews
Breaking news: Barbara Walters wears fake eyelashes, is afraid to drive, gave up her black married lover to save her career (while his went down the tubes). These and other true confessions provide the tabloid interest through 600 pages of the network diva's new memoir, Audition. But it's her heartfelt candor that lifts this book above mere titillation. Finally we learn why Walters is so relentless. It's a question I've often pondered watching her on television after beginning my own TV news career 30 years ago. In this engaging and chatty look back at a life largely lived in public view, Walters provides the answer.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Although Walters writes, "It was not in my nature to be courageous, to be the first," her compulsively readable memoir proves otherwise. No one lasts on TV for more than 45 years without the ability to make viewers feel comfortable, and Walters's amiable persona perfectly translates to the page. She gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Walters is surprisingly candid: about her older sister's retardation, her father's suicide attempt, her midlife affairs (including ones with John Warner—before and after his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor—and a very married Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction), her daughter's troubled teen years and her acrimonious relationships with coanchors Frank McGee and Harry Reasoner. She vividly recounts her decision to leave NBC's TodayShow after 14 years to become the first female nightly news coanchor, and tells of the firestorm of criticism she endured for accepting that pioneering position and its million-dollar salary. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she's interviewed, this mammoth memoir's energy never flags. 32 pages of photos. (One-day laydown May 6)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Listeners have two recordings of Walters's 580-page tell-all from which to choose. The abridged version is read by the media personality herself, and other than affording listeners her authentic voice, complete with her trademark lisp, this version is not worthwhile-lasting just six hours, it omits massive amounts of information; notably, Walters's affair with former senator Edward Brooke.In the unabridged version, Bernadette Dunne does a fine job as a surrogate for Walters. The quality of both versions is excellent, and both are appropriate for audio and biography collections in all types of libraries. The unabridged version is recommended for purchase, though some collections may warrant the abridged, CliffNotes™ edition. [Audio clips available through www.booksontape.comand www.randomhouse.com/audio; the Knopf hc, released in May, is an LJ Best Seller, a title most borrowed in U.S. libraries.-Ed.]
—Nicole A. Cooke

From the Publisher
Audition is brutally honest, both about Walters and those she's worked with. Readers won't be left wondering what she thinks of anything, or anyone, for that matter. . . . It's a fascinating look at a woman who has lived a fascinating life.”
–Laura L. Hutchison, The Free Lance-Star

“[Walters’] heartfelt candor lifts this book above mere titillation. . . . blended with this personal drama is a delightful tale of the golden age of television . . . Through 50-plus chapters, you feel as though you’ve enjoyed a year of weekly lunches with Walters . . . She regales you with the juicy behind-the-scenes details of the celebrities she’s interviewed, mixed in with stories of her own trials and tribulations. In the end, you envy her a little less and admire her more.”
–Kathleen Matthews, Washington Post

“…the book is a triumph!”
—Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic

“…the grande dame of TV news has written a blockbuster. . . . Readers will gobble up the excerpts from scores of interviews with world leaders, politicians, celebrities and murderers.”
–Kathleen Daley, New York Sun

“an indispensable book along with a surefire monster best seller…intensely readable…She’s TV’s original monarch and superstar where power, show business and journalism converge. It’s Barbara Walters’ world, and the rest of us just live in it. [Her] mammoth memoir, doesn’t just touch chords, it’s a 600-plus page oratorio.”
–Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News

“…compulsively entertaining…”
–Rebecca Traister, Salon.com

“Ms. Walters’s story is greatly humanized by the family memoir that colors her long litany of professional successes.”
–Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“an unusually ambitious and successful book. …suffused with an emotional intensity…it belongs to a part of American culture that Walters helped invent.”
–Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker

“She doesn’t shy from the tough stuff… Nor does Walters, an entertainer as much as a ground-breaking journalist, skimp on the fun bits.”
–Allison Adato, People

“…the crowning glory of a remarkable career…”
–Liz Smith, New York Post

“…sizzling…”
–Jo Piazza, New York Daily News

“…compulsively readable… [Walters] gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she's interviewed, this mammoth memoir's energy never flags.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)
 
“A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself.” 
–Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307279965
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/05/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
672
Sales rank:
242,221
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.94(h) x 1.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from the Prologue
Back in the sixties, when I was appearing daily on NBC’s Today show, I was living on Seventh Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street. My apartment was across from Carnegie Hall and on the corner of a very busy street. It was also near several large hotels that catered to businessmen. Perhaps because of this, the corner was the gathering place for some of the most attractive “ladies of the evening.” Each morning at five o’clock I would emerge from my building wearing dark glasses, as I hadn’t yet had my makeup done, and I was usually carrying a garment bag. It seemed obvious to the “ladies” that there was some big “number” I had just left. Now, bear in mind that, even then, I wasn’t exactly a spring chicken. But I would emerge and look at the young ladies, some of whom were still teenagers. “Good morning,” I would say. “Good morning,” they would answer. And then I would get into this long black limousine with its uniformed driver, and we would glide off into the early morning light. And you know what effect all this had on the ladies?
  
 I gave them hope.
 Perhaps this book may do that for you.
 So here it is, the whole package, from the beginning.

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