Deadlines and Datelines: Essays at the Turn of the Century

Overview

Ranging from the Iraq conflict to political turmoil in Russia, from tragedies like the Jonesboro, Arkansas, school-yard shooting to the inspirational courage of survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, Deadlines and Datelines offers readers a unique chance to share the insights of one of America's premier newsmen. With his distinctive blend of frontline determination and a journalist's knack for a good story, Rather looks at the awesome struggles and everyday accomplishments he's witnessed at home and around the ...
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Overview

Ranging from the Iraq conflict to political turmoil in Russia, from tragedies like the Jonesboro, Arkansas, school-yard shooting to the inspirational courage of survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing, Deadlines and Datelines offers readers a unique chance to share the insights of one of America's premier newsmen. With his distinctive blend of frontline determination and a journalist's knack for a good story, Rather looks at the awesome struggles and everyday accomplishments he's witnessed at home and around the globe. With candor, compassion, and sometimes irreverence, Rather examines how such figures as Madeleine Albright, Bill Gates, and Fidel Castro shape world politics and culture. On the culture beat, Rather offers personal interviews with Dolly Parton and Don Imus, insightful appreciations of Debbie Reynolds and Susan Lucci, and sometimes surprising tributes to Andrey Hepburn, Charles Kuralt, and Lawrence Welk.
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Editorial Reviews

Barbara Walters
Dan is warm, wise, and, yes, witty. This book is great company.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like his rival anchors, Rather has been busy writing, but this book doesn't aim to rival Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation or Peter Jennings's The Century, let alone Rather's own engaging memoirs. This collection is based on Rather's syndicated weekly column and daily CBS radio program. While he claims to have tried "to avoid mere commentary and to offer solid reporting," nearly all the pieces here are short, slight and predictable; often, they feel as dated as yesterday's headlines. The topics include many recent news events and personages: Ward Connerly, JonBenet Ramsay, the WNBA, Cuban baseball, Saddam Hussein. His columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, compiled before President Clinton was acquitted, are particularly stale. Better are his brief tributes to newsmen Charles Kuralt and Fred Friendly. In a few places, Rather offers longer and more thoughtful pieces: Malcolm X prompts the observation that "there has never been a symbol without a need"; Disney's Beauty and the Beast strikes Rather as a metaphor for AIDS. But his section of "Lighter Side" pieces, like the book as a whole, is better suited to the ephemeral status of a newspaper column than to preservation between hard covers. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
From the personal to the political, television news reporter and anchor Rather favors a multimedia approach to sharing his thoughts and opinions with the public. This collection of essays includes materials from Rather's weekly newspaper column, his daily radio program, and articles written for magazines and newspapers. Like many collections of contemporary commentary, this one includes stories, such as the Clinton investigation and impeachment, that have been eclipsed by later events. Short essays, most written in 1997 and 1998, are grouped in sections on news from across America, foreign policy, national politics, personalities, and lighter topics. Rather's previous book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice (LJ 10/15/94), continued his memoirs begun in The Camera Never Blinks (LJ 6/1/77) and I Remember (LJ 10/1/91). Recommended for public libraries where the collected works of journalists circulate well and for comprehensive academic journalism collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/99.]--Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The well-known and respected television anchorman-correspondent shows a flair for essays in this collection that presents snapshots of our life and concerns in the 1990s. Rather has previously demonstrated his ability for memoirs in The Camera Never Blinks Twice (1994) and I Remember (1991), and although a few of the 99 short compositions in here were written by his colleagues, most are Rather's. They appeared originally as either a newspaper or magazine article or as a broadcast from Rather's daily radio program, and are categorized here into five chapters: "In the News, Across America," "Foreign Policies, Global Perspectives," "The Washington Scene: Politics and Politicians," "Tributes," and "The Lighter Side." The book isn't arranged chronologically, so the flexibility allows the stories to flow easily from one subject to another, one year to another. The subjects range from hard-hitting matters (human rights, foreign affairs) to lighthearted lifestyle stories (fishing, cartoons, entertainment, personalities), and there are seven essays—philosophical and not sensational—commenting on Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton. Throughout, Rather provides helpful follow-ups and additional comments to keep the reader up-to-date about characters and events since the story's original appearance. His writing may not be as magically poetic as that of other news personalities, such as the late Charles Kuralt (the subject of one of the essays), but his strength for journalistic details serves well not only the serious stories but also the anecdotal ones. Even Rather's most personal and emotional essay, "The Last Grandmother" (written in 1985 and the only one notfrom the 1990s), is sweet while avoiding sentimentality because of his skill for straightforward reportage. Rather loosens the necktie of his television persona and chats amiably about our times, offering readers a glimpse of his point of view, his likes and dislikes, his fears, and his humor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788193491
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Pages: 220

Read an Excerpt

Small-Town Values, Big-Time Tragedy

November 19, 1997

Pearl, Mississippi — Mayberry, North Carolina, never really existed except on television. Its biggest crime problem was Otis, the genteel town drunk — nothing the sheriff, Andy Taylor, couldn't solve armed only with a little smooth Southern talk and folksy wisdom.

Growing up in Mississippi, Tobe Ivy watched The Andy Griffith Show and dreamed. Dreamed of growing up to be another Sheriff Taylor, the lawman portrayed by Griffith as a gentle small-town boy turned keeper of the flame of old-fashioned virtue and values.

In his walk, talk, and kindly ways, Griffith reminded Tobe of his own father. Griffith's character was humorous. But he was also a hero to be emulated.

Today, Tobe Ivy is a police lieutenant in Pearl. He's one of two juvenile police officers here. His beat is kids. His heart aches. "And it will forever," he says gruffly.

It's been just under two months since this small Bible-Belt town was rocked by three murders — allegedly the work of teens in a satanic cult.

On October 1, Tobe Ivy got the call. Shooting at the high school. He burst into the school's "common room" to find a scene of carnage. The dead and the wounded, the bleeding and the panicked everywhere.

How and why it happened, in Pearl of all places, haunts him.

"I've long thought of our little town as a kind of 1990s version of Mayberry," he says. But Sheriff Taylor never had to deal with anything like this.

In Pearl's combined city hall and cop shop, Tobe Ivy and his colleagues believe they've solved the case. Mayor Jimmy Foster, a former police chief; Pearl's present police chief, BillSlade; Ivy's partner, Lieutenant William "Butch" Townsend, and others have worked the clock to break the case.

A big, quiet sixteen-year-old sophomore, Luke Woodham, did the shooting, they say. He stabbed his mother to death at home, then came to school and opened fire on his classmates with a 30-30 deer rifle. Two students, including Woodham's onetime girlfriend, were killed there. Seven other students, apparently targeted at random, were wounded.

Pearl police say they've found evidence Woodham didn't act alone. They say six other teenage boys were involved. Police say these boys saw themselves as good students and socially ostracized because they didn't play on sports teams or in the award-winning school band. So they allegedly conspired to get rid of their "enemies" and win respect.

They are accused of forming a secret club called "The Kroth," a name believed taken from satanic verses. One boy, "a self-proclaimed Satanist," according to prosecutors, cast himself as "the father" of the group, with Luke Woodham as a loyal follower.Whether any of all of this can be proved in court remains to be seen. It is a far cry from Mayberry.

Tobe doesn't look like Andy Griffith. For one thing, God didn't make him tall. He's short and stout, "just plain ol' fat, I'd call it." He shrugs. But he has Mayberry ways. His squad car is a pickup. He talks with a drawl as deep as the Delta. He moves slowly, languidly. And his small-town values are intact after this confrontation with tragedy.

"Whatever happens in the future," Tobe Ivy says, "our Pearl will never be the same. And let me tell you something: if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. Parents need to know that. They need to be aware, be alert, and love and hug their kids." He pauses and gets a faraway look in his eyes. "Just like folks in Mayberry did. The America of Andy Griffith may have been funny, people can ridicule it, but it had something we need to get back."

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