TALKING BACK by Andrea Mitchell


...To Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels
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Veteran TV journalist Mitchell delivers a memoir of recent political history she has seen up-close.

Her first broadcast, at age 11, was the day’s announcements from the principal’s office of her elementary school in New Rochelle, NY. Following role model Brenda Starr, she became a cub reporter. In Philadelphia, she learned how to cope with formidable politicos like the fearsome Frank Rizzo. It wasn’t much of a leap from that to wider ranging broadcast journalism, covering such eventss as the Jonestown deaths and the Three Mile Island meltdown. She reported on the fantastic Iran-Contra goings-on and the bizarre confirmation hearings on Clarence Thomas. As a member of the White House press corps, Mitchell covered Reagan, Carter, the Clintons and Bushes. Moving down Pennsylvania Avenue, she covered doings on the Hill (her “years in Congress”) and, finally, the wider world: Cuba with Fidel, North Korea with Kim Jong Il, Afghanistan with the Taliban and all the other garden spots. Coverage of domestic politics with the boys on the bus may have been no picnic either, but she has always been the venturesome reporter, ready for the next call. She knows all the people who give the orders that matter, and rarely does she have a bad word for any of them. (Well, maybe she wasn’t so fond of Don Regan.) And she’s circumspect about her own politics, though partisan readers may try to detect certain leanings. The mover-shaker she likes best: husband Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Fed. He is “funny and sweet and very endearing.” Indeed, they seem an exemplary power couple. Beyond Mitchell’s admission that she blogs (for work, though), there is scant personal stuff. That’s kind of charming, especially considering the diminished state of today’s journalism.

What reporters do, minus breaking news.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2005
ISBN: 0-670-03403-7
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2005