A BUS OF MY OWN by Jim Lehrer
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The co-anchor of The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour and author of the One-Eyed Mack series looks back on his life so far, including his love of buses and his 1983 heart attack. This is the portrait of a hard-working, ethical, innocent, ambitious man who seems to have become one of America's preeminent journalists by dint of sheer earnestness. The book begins and ends with buses. Lehrer's father ran a Kansas mom-and-pop bus line that failed--and so Lehrer conceived a lifelong passion for bus memorabilia in all forms, and for buses like the Flxible Clipper, the Aerocoach, and the ACF-Brill--exotic mechanical beasts that plied the midwestern bus routes of the author's youth. He is deft with the small moments and habits of life: He chides a Marine drill instructor for mispronouncing his name; asks a Secret Service agent if they're going to put the bubble-top on Kennedy's limousine in Dallas; eats pastrami sandwiches with mayo; and gets a one-sentence lesson on interviewing politicians from Nelson Rockefeller: "Look, fella, if people like you could get me to say things I didn't want to say, I wouldn't be here." For Newshour fans who always suspected that MacNeil and Lehrer dress that way on purpose, there's an explication of the "skivvy shirt rule": "Nothing should be noticed or absorbed except the information....There is no such thing as a pretty slide, a zippy piece of music, a trendy shirt, a dynamic set, a tough question, or anything else, if it deflects even a blink of attention from the information." Lehrer, we learn, was turned on to journalism by a Runyonesque Texas newsman named "Sticks" Strahala, and he himself seems to have kept a boyish, wide-eyed cub-reporter enthusiasm intact in the corridors of power. Sometimes hokey, but down to earth, genuinely affecting, and immensely likable.
Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1992
ISBN: 1930709129
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1992


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