Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee

Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee

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by Jeff Himmelman
     
 

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“I hope we’re as good friends when you finish your book as we are now,” Ben Bradlee, the legendary former executive editor of The Washington Post, told Jeff Himmelman in March 2010. “But I don’t give a [expletive deleted] what you write about me.”
 
So begins Yours in Truth, an intimate portrait of a

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Overview

“I hope we’re as good friends when you finish your book as we are now,” Ben Bradlee, the legendary former executive editor of The Washington Post, told Jeff Himmelman in March 2010. “But I don’t give a [expletive deleted] what you write about me.”
 
So begins Yours in Truth, an intimate portrait of a fixture on the American scene for nearly half a century—a close friend to John F. Kennedy; the center of D.C. social life; and a crusty, charismatic editor whose decisions at the helm of the Post during Watergate changed the course of history. Granted unprecedented access to Bradlee and his colleagues, friends, and private files, Himmelman draws on never-before-seen internal Post memos, correspondence, personal photographs, and private interviews to trace the full arc of Bradlee’s forty-five-year career—from his early days as a press attaché in postwar Paris through the Pentagon Papers, Richard Nixon’s resignation, the Janet Cooke fabrication scandal, and beyond. Along the way, Himmelman also unearths a series of surprises—about Watergate, and about Bradlee’s private relationships with Post owner Katharine Graham and President Kennedy and his wife, Jackie.
 
“Don’t feel that you have to protect me,” Bradlee told Himmelman whenever the reporting started to strike close to home. “Follow your nose.” Those instructions, familiar to any Post reporter, have resulted in this thoughtfully constructed and beautifully written account of a magnetic man whose career has come to define the golden age of newspapers in America, when the press battled for its freedom—and won.

“The absolute best nonfiction book of the year . . . a work of journalistic art . . . history straight and true . . . should be required reading at the Columbia School of Journalism.”—Chicago Tribune

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The absolute best nonfiction book of the year . . . a work of journalistic art . . . history straight and true . . . should be required reading at the Columbia School of Journalism.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“A fairly complete and rare portrait of this last of the lion-king newspaper editors . . . deftly curates previously published material, boring in on the newly revealed and revealing, ultimately creating the best Bradlee biography we’re likely to get.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Surprising and compulsively readable . . . Himmelman’s chapters on Watergate are especially masterful, untangling that web in a fresh and comprehensible way.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“A sparkling, revealing, definitely controversial, and very readable book . . . highly amusing, particularly for any connoisseur of juicy modern American politics.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“The bold brilliance of Jeff Himmelman’s Yours in Truth comes through because it is not simply a biography of a quixotic figure who changed the timbre of American newspapers. Rather, it is also a riveting history lesson with fastidiously researched facts intertwined with first-person observations.”—Charleston Post and Courier
 
“Embedded in Yours in Truth there are fundamental insights about journalism and the role of a dynamic press.”—The Atlantic
 
“The biographer either sells his soul for the cozy dinners or bails for the truth. Himmelman chose the latter.”—The Huffington Post
 
“Riveting new life of one of America’s greatest editors.”—The Daily Beast
The New York Times Book Review
…the book's approach follows the disenchanting arc of most romantic relationships. Himmelman…takes us on that ride with reasonable sympathy and style, from early infatuation and seduction to disappointment and a blossoming realization that even the most impressive people are possessed of tough complexities and personal weaknesses…a work about seduction and mythology, how powerful and romantic they can be, and how neither makes for a fulfilling relationship or a full portrait of a three-dimensional human being…[Himmelman] deftly curates previously published material, boring in on the newly revealed and revealing, ultimately creating the best Brad­lee biography we're likely to get.
—Phil Bronstein

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400068470
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/08/2012
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
627,921
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.41(d)

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