AMONG THOSE PRESENT: A Reporter's View of Twenty-Five Years in Washington by Nancy Dickerson
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AMONG THOSE PRESENT: A Reporter's View of Twenty-Five Years in Washington

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For a small town girl from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Dickerson unabashedly enjoyed being among those present in the Capitol power hubs. As the first woman TV correspondent for CBS (later for NBC), she covered three Presidents, innumerable state dinners, news conferences and political campaigns. She came to know Washington grand dames like Alice Roosevelt Longworth anti Rose Kennedy; JFK fretted about whom she would marry, and years later LBJ (who always said ""hello, Nancy"") thought that Lyndon would be a fine name for her son. Her memoirs are by no means entirely self-centered and her observation of political gamesmanship and the social swirl, while not revelatory, are apposite. She gives a hilarious account of LBJ tear-assing around South East Asia in 1961, pumping hands as if he were running for sheriff in Texas. And she does a smart precis on the contretemps at the 1960 Democratic Convention when ""Jack"" tendered Johnson the VP spot, hoping that he wouldn't accept. JFK, whom she dated in the early days, is admired for his ""zest"" and spontaneity--but with reservations. ""Jack Kennedy was the complete male chauvinist. . . he saw women primarily as sex objects. . . he thought it ridiculous to pay them the same as men."" Watergate left her shocked and aggrieved though from the jump she had found Nixon ""stuffy"" and unstable. But it didn't sour her on ""the system"" which redeemed itself in her eyes by expelling the criminal President. A woman who ""made it"" well before the feminist upsurge, Dickerson is fully conscious of the sex prejudice she encountered among politicians as well as media brass. She can be critical, but cynicism is beyond her; she tells her stories with good-humored panache and, not incidentally, makes it clear that Nancy was a very sought after woman.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1976
Publisher: Random House