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A Reporter's Life

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"From the age of six, when he went dashing down a hill to spread the news of President Harding's death through his Kansas City neighborhood, Walter Cronkite's vocation was unmistakable. Three years later, when he started peddling the Kansas City Star, the die was truly cast: "My mother was horrified and frightened, as I suppose many mothers have been, or should have been, when their children got into newspapering."

The next year the Cronkite family moved to Houston, and other boyhood activities intervened; but when shin splints kept him off the high school track team he landed the job of sports editor for Campus Cub and discovered the "sacred covenant between newspaper people and their readers. We journalists had to be right and we had to be fair." It was no accident that Walter Cronkite came to be known as the most trusted man in America.

Now, at the age of eighty, Cronkite has written his life story--the personal and professional odyssey of the original "anchorman," for whom that very word was coined. As a witness to the crucial events of this century--first for the Houston Press, then for the United Press wire service and finally for CBS in the fledgling medium of television--Cronkite has set a standard for integrity, objectivity, enthusiasm, compassion and insight that would be difficult to surpass. He is an overflowing vessel of history, a direct link with the people and places that have defined our nation and established its unique role in the world.

But Walter Cronkite is also the man who loved to drive race cars "for the same reason that others do exhibitionist, dangerous stuns. It sets us apart from the average man; puts us, in our own minds, on a level just a little above the chap who doesn't race." He is also the man whose "softheartedness knows no rational bounds," and who always has had "great problems at the theater, tearing up at the slightest offense against animals and people, notably the very old or the very young." He is the man who could barely refrain from spitting on the defendants at the Nuremberg Trials, and who could barely announce President Kennedy's assassination over the air for the sobs in his throat.

Walter Cronkite helped launch the juggernaut of television, and tried to imbue it with his own respect for quality and ethics; but now he occupies a ringside seat during the decline of his profession and the ascent of the lowest common denominator: As he aptly observes, "They'd rewrite Exodus to include a car chase." Still, the American people know the difference. They know that for decades they have had the privilege of getting their news from a gentleman of the highest caliber. And they will immensely enjoy A Reporter's Life."

ISBN: 0394578791 / 9780394578798

Author: Walter Cronkite

Published: 1996

Publisher: Knopf

Length: 384 Pages

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