Books by Helen Thomas

Released: July 1, 2008

Sam feels pretty sorry for himself. With the President of the United States for a mother, Sam can't just go out and play like a regular kid; he has to stay close to home, protected by many bodyguards who look very serious and have many gadgets. Sam's pet rat, Leonard, proves that they're not so great at their jobs when he helps Sam and his cat, Warren, run away. After the great escape, Sam, Warren and Leonard explore Washington, D.C., to their hearts' content, finally settling down for the night on the lap of the Lincoln Memorial. Predictably, the trio is homesick by morning. Leonard tries to get them home via kite, but they crash into the Washington Monument—SPLAT—which necessitates a helicopter rescue. A silly adventure from a member of the White House Press Corps, with some educational stops along the way. Bok's dynamic, detail-crammed illustrations will prove great fun for kids and a treat for adults alike, as they are done in the wry, witty style of his political cartoons. (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >
Released: June 20, 2006

"The answer to the title: Journalists, the putative watchdogs of democracy, are becoming the lapdogs of government. Thank you, Mr. President."
The octogenarian doyenne of the White House press troupe (long privileged to end press conferences with "Thank you, Mr. President") reports on the current state of journalism and finds the profession remiss in many substantial ways. Read full book review >
Released: May 17, 2002

"Inherently amiable and sometimes uproarious, if often old-hat."
Nine American presidents appear with less majesty but more humanity in this light but slight series of anecdotes and jokes from former UPI White House bureau chief and Hearst syndicated columnist Thomas (Front Row at the White House, 1999). Read full book review >
Released: May 7, 1999

A straightforward, though not reflective, memoir from Thomas (Dateline: White House, 1975) on the best beat in the world—covering every president from JFK to Clinton for United Press International. The daughter of Lebanese parents, Thomas grew up in Detroit. She came to her passion for journalism early, having written for her high school and college papers. After covering such beats as the Department of Justice and Capitol Hill, she was assigned to the White House in 1961. As the dean of the White House press corps and the person who delivers the final —Thank you, Mr. President— at press conferences, Thomas has become an instantly recognized fixture among the gaggle who report on the presidency. She has won the respect—and often incurred the wrath—of presidents, first ladies, and press secretaries for her bulldog tenacity and her unenthralled view of their work. Many of her best stories come when she sticks to her aim to provide an impressionistic view of these remarkable men and women (e.g., a scandal-scarred Richard Nixon startling her by asking for her prayers). But her assessments of presidents are conventional, and she is rarely critical of her profession's shortcomings. For instance, she acknowledges that she enraged LBJ by revealing daughter Luci's wedding plans before the latter had the chance to discuss them with her father. She fails to see that such matters have nothing whatever to do with her aim to hold government officials accountable and to explain their actions and policies. Moreover, while proud of her firsts as a female reporter (e.g., the first woman recipient of the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award), she reveals little about what sustained her against male chauvinists of the media. A crisply written account of jousting between presidents and press, but without much insight into these two institutions that Thomas so clearly reveres. (16 pages b&w photos) Read full book review >