Somebody's Gotta Tell It!: The Upbeat Memoir of a Working-Class Journalist

Overview

Jack Newfield has covered it all: he has documented he unfolding drama of the 1960s; followed the boxing careers of Ali and Tyson; taken on city hall; and kept his integrity intact in the rough world of tabloid politics. Somebody's Gotta Tell It is the clear-eyed memoir of a journalist whose love for his country, and passion for his profession, has never wavered.

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Overview

Jack Newfield has covered it all: he has documented he unfolding drama of the 1960s; followed the boxing careers of Ali and Tyson; taken on city hall; and kept his integrity intact in the rough world of tabloid politics. Somebody's Gotta Tell It is the clear-eyed memoir of a journalist whose love for his country, and passion for his profession, has never wavered.

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Editorial Reviews

NY Times Book Review
Future historians will be glad to come across this book.
Publishers Weekly
New York Post writer Newfield's life story could easily seem like a clich : a blue-collar boy grows up in Dodgers-era Brooklyn, attends public school and the tuition-free City University, rallies with civil rights heroes in the 1960s and '70s and slugs his way up the ladder to become a reporter who works for everyman. And though some elitists might dismiss this autobiography as hackneyed, others will be enraptured by Newfield's honest recounting of his worthy contribution to American journalism. In straight-ahead, journalistic prose, Newfield recalls his childhood in New York City, citing experiences that will resonate with many readers: fearing the street gangs that ruled the lunchroom; the enormous impact of Jackie Robinson; reading Murray Kempton's columns on Martin Luther King Jr. in the then-liberal New York Post. Newfield then moves on to his college career, explaining why he became a journalist (as it did for Gay Talese and others, it was reading Jimmy Cannon's sentimental pieces in the Post) and describing his mentor, another champion of the underdog, Michael Harrington. Newfield chronicles his experiences with Students for a Democratic Society in the early '60s, regrets his decision not to speak out against the pro-drug stories at the Village Voice, where he wrote for years, and tells readers what it was like to be a 28-year-old writing a biography of Robert Kennedy. Throughout, his wide-eyed enthusiasm prevails, while his conscious understanding of a journalist's responsibility inspires. This memoir serves as a tribute to New Yorkers and reporters alike. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr. 16) Forecast: This will certainly get big play in the Big Apple, where fellow Brooklynites, former '60s activists and persistent liberals will look for it. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
On the heels of recent books decrying the liberal bias of the media (e.g., Bernard Goldberg's Bias, Regnery, 2001) comes this spirited, unapologetic account of the life and times of one member of that liberal brotherhood. Born and raised in a working-class area of Brooklyn, Newfield never abandoned the neighborhood code of loyalty, fairness, teamwork, and the sanctity of the picket line. An investigative reporter, columnist, and documentary filmmaker, he has never been content merely to report the news. During the 1960s, even after he began writing for the Village Voice, he participated in marches and sit-ins, and he gives a unique insider's view of the turmoil within the leftist ranks. This highly personal memoir helps to explain the motivation behind biased reporting, but its real value lies in the descriptions of Newfield's encounters with some of the most influential newsmakers and journalists of the last 50 years. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Susan M. Colowick, North Olympic Lib. Syst., Port Angeles, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Muckraking reporter Newfield (Only in America, 1995, etc.) looks back on his life and times. Perhaps the nature of the memoir's contents can best be conveyed through a list of specific historic occasions the author attended, observed, and reveals in more personal perspective here: Jackie Robinson stealing home against the crosstown rival Giants at Ebbets Field, 1958; the anti-segregation sit-in at Baltimore's Gwynn Oak Park, 1963 (memorialized in John Waters's movie Hairspray); Jose Torres beating Willie Pastrano for the light heavyweight championship at Madison Square Garden in 1965; Robert Kennedy's assassination at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968; the turbulent streets of Chicago during the Democratic convention later that year. New York Post columnist and lifelong liberal Newfield grew up fatherless and poor in 1950s Brooklyn; over the years, he has passionately identified with the down-at-heels as a group and with a series of individual substitute fathers, an emotional and psychological truth he candidly discloses. At the Village Voice, where he worked for more than two decades, he solidified his character as man and writer. Two final, rollicking chapters cover the 1990 strike at the Daily News and the 1993 strike at the Post, from the author's perspective. He knew a lot of people and drops a staggeringly voluminous range of names; he writes in an easygoing newsman's voice. Newfield is generous with the material, honest about himself and others, and, yes, optimistic. He reminds us how much of a small town New York can be, even though these days the city seems very much part of the world at large. Informative and engrossing. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312269005
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/20/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.66 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Old fashion newsman

    A true glimpse into the day to day grind of an old newspaper man is captured in Somebody's Gotta Tell It: The Upbeat Memoir of a Working-Class Journalist by Jack Newfield. This New Yorker holds no punches as he shares his life's story. His worrier single mother made sure that Newfield had lots of opportunity as she supported their family. A self described 'latch key' kid, Newfield was enamored by the writings he found in his daily news.
    In his work he became friends with Bobby Kennedy and portrays an intimate portrait of a man who on a mission to help the less privilege and dedicated his life to public service. Like his brother Jack, Bobby was taken too early at 42. Newfield was there in the candidate's suite as he heard the news of the victory and also was in the room a few hours later when Kennedy had his last breath.
    Newfield came face to face to Richard Nixon once in his life, as he was boarding an airplane. He describes it as "walking down the aisle, I suddenly found myself looking into Nixon's face, as he was taking his jacket off and about to take his seat. Out of some deep, visceral, primitive instinct, the words came out of him. 'Oh, when did you get out of the can?'" He does not hold out his opinion later in the book when he believes that "Nixon raped the constitution."
    Newfield also followed sports and also made friends with many. At the end he was fired, but he reinvented himself and did free lance and documentary work. He cites the wisdom of singer Howard Tate "Get it while you can," which translate into love, not money, not sex. The late Senator Paul Tsongas, knowing he was dying, remarked, "I never heard of anybody on their death bed say they wished they had spent more time at the office."
    This book, Somebody's Gotta Tell It: The Upbeat Memoir of a Working-Class Journalist by Jack Newfield is a candid perspective on one's writer's life. It took twelve manual type writer ribbons to write.

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