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Peter Jennings was a celebrity, of course—a dashingly handsome and elegant man, famous for his ability to charm women and world leaders alike—but in these pages he is remembered as a loyal friend and a devoted family man, who loved nothing more than to canoe with his kids and listen to jazz with his friends in the Hamptons. Not that he was the relaxing sort. Jennings was a task-master, who ripped other reporters' pieces to shreds, forcing them to rewrite from the ground up. He was a perfectionist, too, who drove his fellow correspondents crazy with his ad-libbed questions on the air. It was all about standards. Throughout his life, Peter Jennings was driven by a passion to seek the truth and convey that truth accurately, simply, cleanly, and elegantly to his American audience. He was our voice.
The bulk of the interviews in this oral history-co-edited by Sherr, his colleague at ABC News, freelance book editor Darnton, and Jennings's widow-were conducted in the days immediately following the anchorman's death from lung cancer in August 2005. Friends and fellow reporters retrace every step of his career, starting with his first jobs in Canadian radio to his coverage of major events like the 9/11 attacks. When he was just 26, he was hired by ABC to anchor the evening news, a job he himself would later admit he was "simply unqualified" for at the time. So he demanded to be sent out into the field as a foreign correspondent, building up his experience until he became what Ted Koppel calls "a complete package" as a journalist: smart, attractive and graceful under pressure. The tone of the interviews is predictably positive: even the criticism that he allowed ABC's ratings to slip by refusing to devote more airtime to O.J. Simpson's murder trial is immediately followed by praise for his expanded coverage of the Bosnian genocide. Sections on his personal life along with testimonials from statesmen like Bill Clinton and Colin Powell flesh out the portrait, reminding readers of the commanding presence Jennings held over broadcast journalism. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
This account of the life of a longtime anchor of American evening news was culled largely from interviews conducted for a televised remembrance of Peter Jennings, which aired shortly after his death in 2005. Presented verbatim, the material comes from Jennings's colleagues, friends, and family members and is arranged into a handful of loose themes with little added information or research. As such, the work is more akin to an extended eulogy than a biography. Indeed, the editors themselves, among them Jennings's wife, Kayce Freed Jennings, make no claims that this is an exhaustive examination of the man's life. Some of the anecdotes, such as, for example, assertions that Jennings was unhappy with TV coverage of the Iraq War, would have benefited tremendously from supporting evidence. All told, this is a lively collection of stories about one of television's most successful newsmen, told by those who loved and respected him. Some stories are touching, some funny, and a handful provide insight into how his personality was a natural fit for TV news. Fans of Jennings will appreciate the effort.
Posted June 28, 2012
what more can anyone say... he will always be missed. Must be a Peter Jennings devotee for this read.. teared up several times. An anchor in my life and my family, that's for sure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 28, 2007
If you ever watched Peter Jennings on the news, you probably summed him up as a non-emotional, very bright guy who was cooler than that proverbial cucumber. Reading this book makes you realize quickly your judgment was wrong two out of three times. But whose to say a book is right, anyway, especially one featuring the subject¿s family and cohorts? Because I knew Peter pretty well away from the newsroom (we played together and served on a couple of boards together), my judgment could be skewed, too. But I doubt it. Reading this book for me¿and probably for anyone who actually knew Peter¿hurt at times because the stories of Peter¿s irreverence and drop-dead humor ring so true. A Reporters Life is like an excellent sixty-second newscast: all the ephemera are stripped away and the very essence of the story is left. You get that with this book, the essence of Peter. And unless you¿re from another planet, you also get this: a regret that you didn¿t know him better. For those of us who knew Peter pretty well (and there were tens of thousands of those¿Peter would befriend a rock out of his innate kindness and curiosity¿we regret we didn¿t have just one more visit with him. So, that¿s what this book is: a lot of visits with Peter that ring true, and ring most interesting and revealing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 4, 2007
What better way to be remembered than through the words of your friends and collegues! This excellent book tells Mr. Jennings story in a unique way. Best of all, his comments on his own journey are included. For those of us fortunate to have met him, this book will bring a smile and a tear. Wonderful, rare pictures make this book complete. Remembering Mr. Jennings' way of 'telling the story' is quite evident in this book. Easy to read and quite entertaining, this book makes an excellent gift for any Peter Jennings fan. MJS Houston, TxWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 7, 2007
Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life is for everyone who watched Peter Jennings on the air and wants to know more about him. What was he like to work with? What went on behind the scenes at ABC News? Did he ever let his hair down? Was he difficult to work with? What was he like as a husband and father and friend? What values and principals did he live by and impart to his family, colleagues, protégés? The book manages to weave a narrative from compelling first-person anecdotes that put the reader right into Jennings' incredible life and drive, and tells us that when he was dying he did not feel sorry for himself because he knew he had lived life well. I loved reading the frank accounts from a wide range of people, well-known and not, including excerpts from his children's moving eulogies.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 30, 2011
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