Like his rival anchors, Rather has been busy writing, but this book doesn't aim to rival Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation or Peter Jennings's The Century, let alone Rather's own engaging memoirs. This collection is based on Rather's syndicated weekly column and daily CBS radio program. While he claims to have tried "to avoid mere commentary and to offer solid reporting," nearly all the pieces here are short, slight and predictable; often, they feel as dated as yesterday's headlines. The topics include many recent news events and personages: Ward Connerly, JonBenet Ramsay, the WNBA, Cuban baseball, Saddam Hussein. His columns on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, compiled before President Clinton was acquitted, are particularly stale. Better are his brief tributes to newsmen Charles Kuralt and Fred Friendly. In a few places, Rather offers longer and more thoughtful pieces: Malcolm X prompts the observation that "there has never been a symbol without a need"; Disney's Beauty and the Beast strikes Rather as a metaphor for AIDS. But his section of "Lighter Side" pieces, like the book as a whole, is better suited to the ephemeral status of a newspaper column than to preservation between hard covers. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the personal to the political, television news reporter and anchor Rather favors a multimedia approach to sharing his thoughts and opinions with the public. This collection of essays includes materials from Rather's weekly newspaper column, his daily radio program, and articles written for magazines and newspapers. Like many collections of contemporary commentary, this one includes stories, such as the Clinton investigation and impeachment, that have been eclipsed by later events. Short essays, most written in 1997 and 1998, are grouped in sections on news from across America, foreign policy, national politics, personalities, and lighter topics. Rather's previous book, The Camera Never Blinks Twice (LJ 10/15/94), continued his memoirs begun in The Camera Never Blinks (LJ 6/1/77) and I Remember (LJ 10/1/91). Recommended for public libraries where the collected works of journalists circulate well and for comprehensive academic journalism collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/99.]--Judy Solberg, George Washington Univ., Washington, DC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
The well-known and respected television anchorman-correspondent shows a flair for essays in this collection that presents snapshots of our life and concerns in the 1990s. Rather has previously demonstrated his ability for memoirs in The Camera Never Blinks Twice (1994) and I Remember (1991), and although a few of the 99 short compositions in here were written by his colleagues, most are Rather's. They appeared originally as either a newspaper or magazine article or as a broadcast from Rather's daily radio program, and are categorized here into five chapters: "In the News, Across America," "Foreign Policies, Global Perspectives," "The Washington Scene: Politics and Politicians," "Tributes," and "The Lighter Side." The book isn't arranged chronologically, so the flexibility allows the stories to flow easily from one subject to another, one year to another. The subjects range from hard-hitting matters (human rights, foreign affairs) to lighthearted lifestyle stories (fishing, cartoons, entertainment, personalities), and there are seven essaysphilosophical and not sensationalcommenting on Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton. Throughout, Rather provides helpful follow-ups and additional comments to keep the reader up-to-date about characters and events since the story's original appearance. His writing may not be as magically poetic as that of other news personalities, such as the late Charles Kuralt (the subject of one of the essays), but his strength for journalistic details serves well not only the serious stories but also the anecdotal ones. Even Rather's most personal and emotional essay, "The Last Grandmother" (written in 1985 and the only one notfrom the 1990s), is sweet while avoiding sentimentality because of his skill for straightforward reportage. Rather loosens the necktie of his television persona and chats amiably about our times, offering readers a glimpse of his point of view, his likes and dislikes, his fears, and his humor.