Miller (God Has Ninety-Nine Names: Reporting From a Militant Middle East, 1997, etc.) offers her account of her ignominious departure from the New York Times in 2005 due to her allegedly inaccurate coverage about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Unsurprisingly, the author claims that Times editors, fellow reporters, and various other parties used her as a scapegoat after President George W. Bush and his advisers decided to invade Iraq on the basis of reporting by Miller (as well as various government agency assessments) that the rogue nation posed a danger to the United States. Yes, Miller reveals, she misjudged information provided to her by sources inside and outside Iraq. However, she adds, she did her best to vet her sources in an atmosphere that made separating truth from lies nearly impossible. Along the way to her qualified mea culpa, Miller shares accounts from her four decades of global and domestic journalism. As a memoir of high-stakes journalism, the book is solid. It is especially revealing about why she decided to go to prison for contempt of court rather than reveal a confidential source related to the outing of Valerie Plame, who was secretly employed by the CIA. Prior to her dismissal from the Times, Miller spent 85 days in prison because she felt a professional obligation to honor a promise of source confidentiality. When the author reveals snippets about her personal life, she admirably addresses rumors of romances with powerful men, including a member of Congress. Her occasional references to her late-in-life marriage to book publishing guru Jason Epstein reveal their sometimes-differing viewpoints about domestic life and about reporting risks. Unfortunately, the memoir is marred by frequent score-settling, especially aimed at New York Times editors and publishers.
Miller might possess just cause, but one-sided, bitter accounts of her disputes feel unworthy of a talented journalist.