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Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee

Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee

2.6 3
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 Ben, an intimate portrait of a fixture on


“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 Ben, an intimate portrait of a fixture on the American scene for nearly half a century—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. 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 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.

Editorial Reviews

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
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

“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

“[A] riveting new life of one of America’s greatest editors.”The Daily Beast

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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6.56(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.41(d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Himmelman has worked on two national bestsellers, Bob Woodward’s Maestro and Tim Russert’s Big Russ and Me, and was the co-author of A Different Life with Quinn Bradlee. His work with Woodward and a team of other reporters helped The Washington Post secure the national reporting Pulitzer Prize for its post-9/11 coverage.  He is also a professional musician who writes, records, and performs under the name Down Dexter. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

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Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
JRG1053 More than 1 year ago
Okay, so the faux headline isn't so clever. But Yours In Truth, is beyond clever, for my money, the best book of the year: it is GREAT history about REALPEOPLE who helped shape our lives today. EXCITING? Oh my yes, we read as heros Bernstein and Woodward (W&B)inch their way toward the oval office with meager evidence they must decipher and unravel under the unforgiving guidance of Editor Bradlee. What we all get to see is just how difficult it is to get to the root of an important news story and how perilous it is to make assumptions without cooberation of the findings. And in the end learn a great deal about the humanity of the great people such as Katherine Graham who owned and published the great Washington Post and her valiant Editor Bradlee. It is a great love story about people who love what they do and who do what they love. And if you love our system of free press and are the least curious about the people who make it work, you too will find "Yours In Truth" exciting and lively and vivid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to thank those of Random House who donate books to giveaways. I am sincere in this. I love biographies of interesting and great individuals. However this was not one of them. If Ben Bradlee was such a great Journalist, why is his vocabulary so limited that he had to very frequently resort to profanity to express himself. He was such a negative reporter! He seemed to degrade everyone and everything he could. He couldn't speak civilly to many of those he responded to. True greatness gets the job done but with a little 'class'. It is people like him, just as with crooked political leaders, that has degraded our country. I doubt he really understood truth. With all its' problems, America is still the greatest country in the world. If you don't believe it, live among those poverty-ridden, suppressed people in other countries. The author jumped through years so sporadically that is also lost any interest the reader might have had. It was very unorganized documentationsI won this book and am very glad I did not purchase it.