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Bold, well-crafted biography of a long-elusive and controversial public figure.

A probing biography unveils the insecure depressive lurking inside 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace.

Rookie biographer Rader manages to tease out the fallible humanity in an otherwise attack-dog TV reporter who’s always kept his real persona hidden from everyone—including himself. Since his subject’s career spans some 70 years, Rader’s book also serves as a fascinating history of the development of entertainment media in America—namely, TV tabloid-style journalism, which Wallace played an important role in shaping over the years. Although Wallace went from cigarette pitch man to TV talk shows to dubious status as the most feared hit-man reporter on one of the longest running and most revered shows on TV, 60 Minutes, he could never quite come to terms with his identity when he wasn’t busy conducting boisterous and revealing interviews with everyone from Malcolm X to Lyndon Johnson to Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rader’s revelations about Wallace go to some pretty impressive psychological depths: He is portrayed as a man who could dish out withering examinations of others, but knew he might not be capable of withstanding attacks on his own credibility. Although Wallace had his way with presidents, world leaders, celebrities and everyone in between, he finally reached his mental breaking point during the 1980s slander suit that pitted Gen. William Westmoreland against Wallace and 60 Minutes; an ugly trial led Wallace to a botched suicide attempt. Rader’s portrait is of the classic American workaholic, one whose burning ambition and freakishly tireless work ethic were fueled by massive insecurities and existential crises.

Bold, well-crafted biography of a long-elusive and controversial public figure.

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-54339-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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