THE CAMERA NEVER BLINKS TWICE

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF A TELEVISION JOURNALIST

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)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-09748-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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