A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
For decades, Walter Cronkite was known as "the most trusted man in America." Millions across the nation welcomed him into their homes, first as a print reporter for the United Press on the front lines of World War II, and later, in the emerging medium of television, as a host of numerous documentary programs and as anchor of the CBS Evening News, from 1962 until his retirement in 1981. Yet this very public figure, undoubtedly the twentieth century's most revered journalist, was a remarkably private man; few know the full story of his life. Drawing on unprecedented access to Cronkite's private papers as well as interviews with his family and friends, Douglas Brinkley now brings this American icon into focus as never before.
Brinkley traces Cronkite's story from his roots in Missouri and Texas through the Great Depression, during which he began his career, to World War II, when he gained notice reporting with Allied troops from North Africa, D-day, and the Battle of the Bulge. In 1950, Edward R. Murrow recruited him to work for CBS, where he covered presidential elections, the space program, Vietnam, and the first televised broadcasts of the Olympic Games, as both a reporter and later as an anchor for the evening news. Cronkite was also witness to--and the nation's voice for--many of the most profound moments in modern American history, including the Kennedy assassination, Apollos 11 and 13, Watergate, the Vietnam War, and the Iran hostage crisis.
Epic, intimate, and masterfully written, Cronkite is the much-anticipated biography of anextraordinary American life, told by one of our most brilliant and respected historians.
About the Author
Douglas Brinkley is currently a Professor of History at Rice University and a Fellow at the James Baker III Institute of Public Policy. He has published several New York Times bestselling titles: The Wilderness Warrior (2009), The Reagan Diaries (2007), The Great Deluge (2006), The Boys of Pointe du Hoc (2005), Tour of Duty (2004), and Voices of Valor (2004, with Ronald J. Drez). The Great Deluge, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, was the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Dr. Brinkley has also taught at the U.S. Naval Academy, Princeton University, Tulane University (where he was also Director of the Roosevelt Center), and other institutions across the country. He is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and American Heritage, as well as a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The New Yorker, and the Atlantic. He lives in Austin and Houston, Texas.
“A majestic biography. . . . Cronkite is evidence that a job can be done just about perfectly. That goes for the man and this exceptional biography.”
-The New York Times Book Review
“With the style and precision worthy of his subject, Douglas Brinkley’s biography of the late Walter Cronkite gives the icon his due. . . . A keen, fair-minded book.”
-The San Francisco Chronicle
“Walter Cronkite exemplified the glorious age of trusted journalism. In this deeply researched and brilliantly analytic biography, Douglas Brinkley captures his essence. He treats Cronkite as not just an icon, but as a real human with passions, loves, and occasional enmities. It’s a fascinating and valuable tale.”
“Douglas Brinkley’s absorbing and well-researched book recaptures the high solstice of American television journalism and the man who most exemplified that moment. It also illuminates, behind the scenes, a Walter Cronkite that millions of Americans thought they knew, but, as Brinkley’s book now shows us, didn’t.”
“Exhaustively researched and beautifully written, Cronkite is a classic. Douglas Brinkley has written his best book yet. This is a fascinating story that will be read for years to come.”
“In this absorbing and sensitively-written biography, Douglas Brinkley has captured not only the life and momentous decades of a uniquely American legend, but also the heartbeat of a nation in its times of both triumph and tragedy.”
“This sweeping narrative of Walter Cronkite’s life is irresistibly told, beautifully written, and deeply researched. Douglas Brinkley has produced one trustworthy biography after another, each one commanding widespread respect and admiration. And this is one of the very best.”
-Doris Kearns Goodwin
“The personal and professional life of Walter Cronkite is an American treasure - and we should all be grateful to Douglas Brinkley for telling it so well.”
“A sweeping and masterful biography.”
“A superb biography. . . . If only we had Walter Cronkite today.”
-Tina Brown, Newsweek
“Cronkite’s career has vast scope, and cumulative effect of this book is illuminating, not only about the man himself but also about the way he filtered history for a nation.”
-Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“An ambitious and deeply researched biography. . . . Cronkite magically transports the reader to a bygone era. . . . Recounted here in detail, with scholarly grasp and smooth narrative flow, are the familiar milestones and more obscure regions of Cronkite’s life.”
-The Boston Globe
“Informed, wide-ranging, clear, accessible. . . . This richly detailed and impeccably researched biography brings you into a vivid life,. . . . A thorough, even-handed and illuminating work that goes beyond image and myth about the broadcast legend for a full, frank and fascinating portrait.”
“A tremendous read. . . . Brinkley’s book brings this man intimately to light, in all his petty maneuvers and all his grandeur. I gobbled up every page.”
-Robert MacNeil, The Washington Post