P.S.: A Memoir

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A concert pianist at age six, a decorated naval hero at twenty, an award-winning journalist at twenty-six, and a congressional investigator at thirty-one, Pierre Salinger was but thirty-five when he became President John F. Kennedy's press secretary. During those amazing years, he found himself, unexpectedly, at the center of many world events - weathering the Cuban Missile Crisis or dining one-on-one with Nikita Khrushchev. After leaving the White House in 1964 (he stayed on for a while as LBJ's press secretary)...
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Overview

A concert pianist at age six, a decorated naval hero at twenty, an award-winning journalist at twenty-six, and a congressional investigator at thirty-one, Pierre Salinger was but thirty-five when he became President John F. Kennedy's press secretary. During those amazing years, he found himself, unexpectedly, at the center of many world events - weathering the Cuban Missile Crisis or dining one-on-one with Nikita Khrushchev. After leaving the White House in 1964 (he stayed on for a while as LBJ's press secretary) Salinger was, briefly, a senator from California and, even more briefly, a movie and TV actor. Following the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, which he witnessed, Salinger resolved to retire from politics and moved to his mother's native France. In no time, he became "the best-known American in France." In 1978, he went to work for ABC Television, soon becoming their Paris bureau chief. Over the ensuing decades, he covered every major story, from the Olympics to Iranian terrorism.

From Kennedy to Khrushchev to Castro to Onassis, by way of Mitterand and Bardot, Begin and Arrafat, Pierre Salinger has known them all. P.S., A Memoir is a remarkable account of a remarkable man who leads a remarkable life--a walk through contemporary American history with a uniquely qualified guide. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Press secretary to presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Salinger has written an engaging, whirlwind memoir. Both a participant in and an observer of history, he provides intimate glimpses of John Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban missile crisis as well as an eyewitness account of Robert Kennedy's assassination. A child-prodigy pianist, born in San Francisco in 1925 to an American Jewish mining engineer of German descent and a French Catholic mother, Salinger at the age of 19 commanded a ship in the South Pacific during WWII; he served on a Senate antiracketeering committee that helped break Jimmy Hoffa's power and became a U.S. senator from California for five months in 1964. As Paris bureau chief for ABC News, he established back-channel negotiations in the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, and covered stories ranging from Irish Republican Army terrorism to the Persian Gulf war. Now a vice-chairman of Burson-Marsteller, a PR firm in Washington, D.C., he writes guardedly of his four marriages and of personal tragedies (his son Marc committed suicide in 1977). Of note, Salinger divulges his 1989 meeting in Moscow in which Gorbachev told an American delegation that the Soviets had had 50,000 troops in Cuba in the fall of 1962-five times as many as the U.S. had presumed; Gorbachev also disclosed that Castro had urged Khrushchev to launch a missile attack. (Oct.)
Library Journal
"One of the best things about writing a memoir," Salinger confesses, "as opposed to a more formal book that covers both history and politics is that the rules aren't as rigid." In general, his memoir's organization reflects this observation, which is not to say that the book is not fascinating. Salinger traces his life from his days as a child piano prodigy to his forays into journalism at the San Franciso Chronicle and Collier's to serving as JFK's press secretary (the story of which is covered in more detail in his earlier With Kennedy) to his 148-day career as an appointed U.S. senator to the assassination of Robert Kennedy to a distinguished career with ABC-TV News and finally to his current position as an international public relations executive. He is candid; he has been married four times and admits his philandering. This is not a book you put down easily. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/95.]-Chet Hagan, Berks Cty. P.L. System, Pa.
Booknews
Salinger tells of his encounters with presidents, world leaders, and the glitterati during his multifaceted career as an award-winning journalist, a congressional investigator, press secretary to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, senator from California, and Paris bureau chief for ABC Television. Contains b&w photos. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Joe Collins
This autobiography of the man most famous for being JFK's and LBJ's flamboyant press secretary is similar to the persona of Salinger himself: boisterous, larger-than-life, and informative. Salinger traces his early days as a journalist in San Francisco (complete with articles he's proud of), his troubled first marriage, and his introduction to Robert F. Kennedy, who was investigating Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters at the time. Salinger obviously worshipped JFK during his time as press secretary, but he is still realistic about the president's foibles, as he is about Kennedy's successor in the White House. There's no startling new information here about either administration, but it's interesting from a historical perspective to get an inside look at the center of world power in the 1960s. Following his stint as press secretary, Salinger continued to work as a journalist, most notably overseas for ABC News in the 1970s. Interestingly, despite brief accounts of both Kennedy assassinations, the most poignant moment comes when Salinger learns his son has committed suicide. "P.S." is a fascinating look at an interesting man at an interesting time--hardly the footnote its title denotes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312135782
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 1.14 (d)

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