Books by Dan Rather

WHAT UNITES US by Dan Rather
Released: Nov. 7, 2017

"A full-throated celebration of the national spirit and its potential to persevere in spite of dangers foreign and domestic."
One of the deans of the Fourth Estate defends the traditional American values he learned to cherish in childhood, now under threat in a tempestuous political and economic climate. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2012

"An engaging grab-bag: part folksy homage to roots, part exposé of institutional wrongdoing and part manifesto for a truly free press."
A renowned journalist settles scores in this investigation of how the news media has become dangerously intertwined with politics and corporate interests. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2001

"Rather does his job just fine—but what that job is remains something of a mystery."
A rainbow-coalition compendium of anecdotes to swell a patriot's pride. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1999

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 essays—philosophical and not sensational—commenting 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 not from 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. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 17, 1994

The CBS anchorman tells of his globe-trotting moments—good yarns, though they're not exactly representative of his usual daily work behind a desk. As in their previous book (The Camera Never Blinks, 1977), Rather and Herskowitz, in colloquial and sometimes glib style, tell how he got that story. Venturing into Afghanistan just after the Soviet invasion in 1980, Rather and his colleagues braved fearsome chiefs, questionable food (when in doubt, eat only the inside of bread, he recommends), and a firefight to bring home an important story. In China for the 1989 student revolt, the newsman and his team finessed on-site government officials to gain enough time to transmit their video back home before their news operation was shut down. After the Berlin Wall fell, he headed directly for soon-to- topple Prague on the prescient advice of Vernon Walters, ambassador to West Germany. And shortly before Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, he garnered a frank interview with Jordan's King Hussein that, with the help of producer Don Hewitt, was quickly broadcast on 60 Minutes. Rather intercuts his chapters with brief, often folksy ``outtakes'' and isn't above laughing at himself, as when reflecting on his youthful bravado and latter-day caution in covering hurricanes. He offers a credible account of the notorious 1987 episode in which the ``CBS Evening News'' ``went black'' for six minutes (when the preceding broadcast of a tennis game finished earlier than expected), as well as an unedited transcript of the subsequent interview with Vice President (and presidential candidate) George Bush, who dodged questions about his Iran-contra involvement by nastily chiding Rather about the gap. The book closes by recounting a much-publicized 1993 speech in which Rather upbraided TV news colleagues for not pursuing quality. But his book lacks sustained reflection on how to do that—or for that matter, any mention of the struggles of Rather's nightly newscast, now third in the ratings. Enjoyable anecdotes, not much insight or history. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >
I REMEMBER by Dan Rather
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

An immensely appealing remembrance of things past from the anchor of CBS-TV's Evening News. A Texan and proud of it, Rather (who turns 60 next Halloween) grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Houston during the height of the Depression and WW II. His hard-working father was gainfully employed (no mean feat in those hard times) as a ditch digger for a local pipeline company. Consequently, the Rathers had money enough for life's necessities, albeit never in abundance. By the author's elegiac account—told with the help of veteran author Wyden (Wall: The Berlin Story, 1989, etc.)—the extended family also had true grit and love to spare. While paying graceful tribute to parents, relatives, friends, and other influences, Rather offers an episodic and anecdotal account of his formative years. In addition to the sympathetic adults who encouraged him to stay in school with glimpses of a wider world, he credits the instinctive independence of the Rather clan with putting him on the road to success. During the pre-TV era when young Dan was coming of age, newspapers and radio were the only media. Print and broadcast reports of epic battles in faraway places with strange-sounding names were the first source of Rather's youthful aspirations to become a foreign correspondent. The obvious misery of the jobless and dispossessed also appears to have given his outlook an endearingly populist spin. In the meantime, the author experienced the joys, sorrows, and occasional hard knocks (including a year in bed with rheumatic fever) of a boyhood that, if a bit too impoverished to qualify as idyllic, was at least marked by more highs than lows. A prominent American's vivid and sensitive recollections of his deep roots in a past that is now all but beyond recall. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >