Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir

Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir

by Robert J. Donovan
     
 

"The host had brought out a pair of boxing gloves and asked the president if any of his friends would like to indulge in the Australian sport of boxing kangaroos. Once the president of the United States had selected me, there was almost no way out, unless I ran home to tell my mother."

In Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir, Robert J.

Overview

"The host had brought out a pair of boxing gloves and asked the president if any of his friends would like to indulge in the Australian sport of boxing kangaroos. Once the president of the United States had selected me, there was almost no way out, unless I ran home to tell my mother."

In Boxing the Kangaroo: A Reporter's Memoir, Robert J. Donovan shares many exciting events that highlighted his stellar journalistic career. As an investigative reporter during five presidential administrations, Donovan has had many "insider" experiences. His memoir delightfully humanizes each of the five presidents he reported on: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Donovan began his career working as a night copyboy for the Buffalo Courier-Express, earning seven dollars a week. In 1937, he got a job as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked for many years. By 1942 the Herald Tribune had assigned Donovan to cover City Hall and the lively activities of Fiorello La Guardia. After his service in World War II he returned to the Herald Tribune to cover the man from Missouri who followed FDR. Ultimately, Donovan served as chief of the New York Herald Tribune Washington bureau and the Los Angeles Times Washington bureau.

Donovan traveled across the country with Harry S. Truman during his "Give 'Em Hell, Harry" campaign. He covered Dwight D. Eisenhower's election, about which he says there was never a doubt—Ike, the war hero, mesmerized the country. He was a personal friend of John F. Kennedy, having written about the President's PT-109 heroics in World War II, and was on the scene the day Kennedy was assassinated: "The drama in the second press bus, in which I rode in the presidential motorcade in Dallas, is unforgettable. Why has the motorcade stopped?' a reporter asked as we drew near the Texas School Book Depository. . . . I heard a shot,' another said. A voice in the rear contradicted him. That was a motorcycle backfiring.'" Donovan would find out shortly before the rest of the world that, in fact, it was not a motorcycle backfiring, but the firing of an assassin's bullet that killed the nation's thirty-fifth president.

Boxing the Kangaroo is one of the best "I was there" accounts of American history. This fascinating book will appeal to journalists, American history buffs, and the general reader alike.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This reporter's memoir is anecdotal history at its best. Donovan, who was Washington bureau chief for both the New York Herald Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, writes as an "insider" who covered U.S. presidents from Harry Truman through Lyndon Johnson. Readers get detailed explanations of how and why he wrote best-selling books on JFK's World War II PT-109 heroics, a re-election biography of Dwight Eisenhower, and a celebrated two-volume history of Truman's presidency. In a sense, there is a kind of quaintness to what Donovan describes because most of it happened before the proliferation of TV- and Internet-larded expansive news coverage. Indeed, Donovan's career began in Buffalo in 1935, when reportorial skills required notebooks, pencils, and typewriters. Unhappily, the poorly chosen title--referring to an inconsequential incident during coverage of an LBJ tour to Australia--tends to denigrate the strength of this work. For public libraries.--Chet Hagan, Historical Review of Berks Cty., PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826212818
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Publication date:
06/28/2000
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Donovan lives in Washington, D.C. He is the author of numerous books, including Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1945-1948 and Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S Truman, 1949-1953.

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