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Conversations with Cronkite
     

Conversations with Cronkite

by Walter Cronkite, Don Carleton
 

Intimate. Revealing. Candid. Published by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, Conversations with Cronkite gives readers a rare glimpse into the life and times of Walter Cronkite in his own words. The book contains selections from interviews between the legendary journalist and an experienced oral historian—Cronkite's friend, Dr. Don

Overview

Intimate. Revealing. Candid. Published by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, Conversations with Cronkite gives readers a rare glimpse into the life and times of Walter Cronkite in his own words. The book contains selections from interviews between the legendary journalist and an experienced oral historian—Cronkite's friend, Dr. Don Carleton.

With the publication of Conversations with Cronkite, readers have the opportunity to discover the behind-the-scenes stories of his life, edited by Carleton to focus on key events, issues, and themes. More than just oral history transcripts, these are the intimate conversations of two friends, covering virtually every aspect of Cronkite's life and career. Illustrated with photographs and archival treasures from the Cronkite Papers, Conversations with Cronkite gives readers the opportunity to once again hear the voice of "the most trusted man in America."

Walter Cronkite on:

His famous sign off "And that's the way it is"

I didn't clear it with [CBS] in any way. I started using it, and [Richard Salant] said, "This presupposes that everything we said is right, that that's the whole picture of the day's news. I don't really think you ought to be doing that." I think he was correct. But the thing had already caught on. It really was just rolling. So I got to kind of a point of being stubborn about it and said, "Well, I like it." [Salant] said, "Well, it's up to you." He let it go. It has been much criticized by serious television critics . . . because of that argument that . . . it was presumptive that everything we said is correct. Which was wrong. I shouldn't have said that. . . . And particularly when we got into controversial subjects like the Vietnam War. In fact, there's a New Yorker cartoon with a guy coming half out of his chair and shouting at his television, saying, "That's NOT the way it is."

Being a United Press reporter during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II

God, it was cold. We looked like Washington's army at Valley Forge. At one point, the troops I was with entered a town, and we got into a fire fight right away. It was very intense. My driver and I hopped out of our jeep and got in behind a doorway. The Germans were at one end of the main street and . . . it was a pretty good fire fight. I looked up and saw a GI . . . leaning out taking a shot or two. . . . I knew this was a story. I yelled out, "What's your name, soldier?" "Colonel Jones." I said, "Where are you from, what outfit are you with?" He said, "Mr. Cronkite, I'm your driver."

On Fidel Castro

He was fascinated about . . . my war experience. Fascinated about the landings in Normandy. A real war buff. At one point I said, "I've been in a lot of Communist countries, including living two years in Moscow. I have yet to see a Communist country that understood the necessity of maintenance of . . . buildings or anything else." [Castro] threw up his hands and said, "Oh, boy, I know that. It's absolutely terrible." I said, "Well, why is it?" [Castro] said, "First of all, it's inherent in the idea of Communism. People don't own things, so they don't take care of them. That's the answer you capitalists give, but it's true."

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As "the most trusted man in America," Cronkite was seen on the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981. His legacy lives on in this collection of interviews, a companion book to his best-selling memoir, A Reporter's Life. The beloved anchorman, who died last year, commissioned Carleton (director, Dolph Briscoe Ctr. for American History, Univ. of Texas; coauthor, Dolph Briscoe: My Life in Texas Ranching and Politics) to preserve his personal papers and to be his historical adviser and the researcher for his autobiography. Carleton conducted a series of interviews with Cronkite amounting to over 60 hours of recordings and more than 1000 pages of transcript. Unlike Cronkite's memoir, this collection focuses solely on the newsman's influential work in broadcast journalism. It also provides additional insight into the historic events that he covered and later wrote about, such as the assassination of JFK and the 1969 moon landing. VERDICT Fans of Cronkite as well as students of journalism and American history will find this book entertaining and informative.—Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib. Syst., FL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780976669739
Publisher:
Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
Publication date:
08/15/2010
Pages:
300
Sales rank:
1,259,602
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are Saying About This

Douglas Brinkley
We all owe Don Carleton a huge debt of gratitude for publishing this landmark oral history of Walter Cronkite. Here, for the first time, is the beloved CBS News anchorman unplugged, commenting on everything from D-Day to the Vietnam War to the moon landing. A riveting and revelatory book filled with invaluable insights on American journalism.

Meet the Author

DON CARLETON is executive director of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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