DEADLINE by Jr. Reston


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 Two-time Pulitzer-winner Reston (Reston's Washington, 1986, etc.) recalls with verve and good humor his life and times, including 50 years as reporter, Washington bureau chief, executive editor, and columnist for The New York Times. Now a retired octogenarian, Reston offers an almost classic immigrant's success story. After coming to the US from Scotland with his devoutly Calvinist parents, the young ``Scotty'' caught the eye of Ohio Governor James Cox while caddying and was helped through college by this former Democratic presidential nominee. Thereafter, his rise was steady but sure: Cincinnati Reds publicist, AP sportswriter, then his legendary tenure at the Times, where his politically mainstream column became required Washington reading for several decades. Save for final chapters when he mounts the pulpit to expound on how the world has changed in his lifetime, the worst quality of the column--its omniscient tone--is refreshingly absent from the bright, informal prose here (Ronald Reagan ``announced when he arrived that it was morning in America, but he didn't like to get out of bed''). The longtime Washington press-corps dean sheds little light on the convulsive internal struggles at the Times (including his year as executive editor) recounted in Harrison Salisbury's Without Fear or Favor and Gay Talese's The Kingdom and the Power, but provides affectionate, often compassionate, portraits of journalist colleagues Arthur Krock and Walter Lippmann, heavyweight politicians and statesmen (Dean Acheson, Arthur Vandenberg, and ``favorite loser'' Adlai Stevenson), and Presidents (the account of a 40-minute telephone harangue from LBJ is a comic classic). Remembering a life and tumultuous century in tranquillity, Reston resists gossip, the occupational hazard of journalists. Instead, he offers an engaging ``love story about America and other impossible dreams.'' (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-58558-5
Page count: 452pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1991


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