A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures

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An eyewitness account from the playing fields where the first rough draft of history was written.

On August 8, 1942, I graduated from Harvard by the skin of my teeth at 10 a.m. At noon, I was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. And at 4 p.m., I married Jean Saltonstall, the first and only girl I had ever been with and I was on my way to someplace called the South Pacific. I was not yet 21...The education of Benjamin C. Bradlee was...

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A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures

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An eyewitness account from the playing fields where the first rough draft of history was written.

On August 8, 1942, I graduated from Harvard by the skin of my teeth at 10 a.m. At noon, I was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve. And at 4 p.m., I married Jean Saltonstall, the first and only girl I had ever been with and I was on my way to someplace called the South Pacific. I was not yet 21...The education of Benjamin C. Bradlee was finally under way.

And so begins this witty, candid story of a daring young man who made his way to the heights of American journalism and public life, from a New Hampshire weekly through his foreign correspondent years in Europe, to the apex of his career at The Washington Post, whose Watergate coverage gave journalism its finest hours.

An eyewitness to most of the seminal events of our time, a good friend to President Kennedy and a dreaded foe of President Nixon, Bradlee watched and talked to most of the heroes and villains who were making such vivid history so fast. Taking the helm of The Washington Post in 1965, Bradlee and his reporters redefined the way the news is reported, published, and read; his leadership and investigative drive following the break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the downfall of a president, and kept every president afterwards on his toes.

A Good Life is Bradlee's irreverent, earthy, and revealing look at modern American journalism -- and the extraordinary life story of the man who helped to reinvent it.

The most important, glamorous, and famous newspaperman of modern times traces his path from Harvard to the battles of the Pacific war to postwar Paris to the pinnacle of success as the editor of The Washington Post, which under his direction, won 22 Pulitzer Prizes. An extraordinary life story, and a gripping look at America and American journalism in the 20th century. of photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Having spent 25 years as Executive Editor of the Washington Post, Bradlee's memoir looks at such memorable incidents as Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Bradlee, immortalized in the Watergate film All the President's Men, retired in 1991 after 26 years as executive editor of the Washington Post. This memoir, bluntly written and sprinkled with salty language, tells his life story, which included a close friendship with John and Jackie Kennedy. As colorful as Bradlee's personal life has been, the most interesting stories here are journalistic: Watergate with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, publication of the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers, and the saga of Janet Cooke, a young Post reporter who had to return a 1981 Pulitzer Prize when it was discovered that her story of an eight-year-old heroin addict had been fabricated. For more of Bradlee and the Post, seek out In the Shadow of Power: The Story of the Washington Post, by veteran Post reporter Chalmers M. Roberts (Seven Locks Pr., 1989). Recommended for most collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/95.]Bruce Rosenstein, "USA Today" Lib., Arlington, Va.
Mary Carroll
Bradlee may not be the "most important, glamorous, and famous newspaperman of modern times," as his publisher claims, but the "Washington Post"'s longtime (196591) executive editor knows how to write an autobiography. It's all here: growing up in a shabby, genteel branch of an upper-crust Boston family; prep school and Harvard; four years on Navy destroyers in the Pacific; apprenticeship as a reporter in New Hampshire and Washington; "Newsweek" years in Paris and then Washington in the 1950s and 1960s; the move into editorial management at the "Post"; JFK, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and the Janet Cooke fiasco; three wives, children, stepchildren, and life after retirement. Bradlee deserves credit (with owner Katherine Graham and others) for making the "Post" one of the nation's best newspapers, and his memoirs include thoughtful ruminations on subjects like the celebrity status and establishment power that journalism's stars have achieved during his 45-year watch. What Bradlee seems not to recognize even now is how much the "luck" that contributed to his "good life" reflected class advantages: arrogance and a sense of entitlement sometimes lie below the surface here. Still, Bradlee's genuine accomplishments and his bird's-eye view of history--plus a 100,000-copy first printing, "Newsweek" serialization, and alternate selection status with the Book-of-the-Month Club--suggest that "A Good Life" is headed for the best-seller lists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830053148
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Pages: 514

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2002


    The story of Benjamin C.Bradlee is a straight forward one. A true American Hero! This book will reveal a lot more if the reader listens to the Audio Tapes (4 cassettes) of the same title read by the great man himself. The pauses, the passion, the idefatigable search for news is best revealed in his own voice. An unforgettable experience!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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