P.S., A MEMOIR by Pierre Salinger


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 The autobiography of a newsman, presidential press secretary, and bon vivant. Salinger's memoirs include several gratuitous confessions of monumental ego, as if it weren't obvious from this name-dropping collection of epic tales in which Salinger usually plays the herocomplete with the fine cigars, rare wines, and numerous friends among the rich and famous. But as irritating as the memoir is, it is also filled with real-life stories about historic events of the past half-century. And unlike Forrest Gump, Salinger was really there. He joined Robert Kennedy's team investigating the Teamsters in the 1950s, served as presidential press secretary to John F. Kennedy and, briefly, Lyndon Johnson, and was among the close friends who convinced Robert Kennedy to run for president in 1968. Shattered by RFK's assassination, Salinger fled the US for France, where the onetime journalist eventually became Paris bureau chief for ABC news. He claims coups in investigating such stories as the hostage crisis in Iran, the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, and the Persian Gulf War, before finally coming back to the States in 1993. But the most fascinating stories come from Salinger's days working on the Kennedy campaigns and in the Kennedy White House. Especially riveting are accounts of private conversations with Russian premier Nikita Khrushchev and of his participation in back-channel contacts between Russia and the US. This is no tell-all memoir and is nostalgic for the days when ``unlike today's press secretaries, I did not have to deal with direct questions'' regarding John Kennedy's rumored affairs. Virtually the only harsh words in the book are in Salinger's charge that the Gulf War could have been avoided, but ``President Bush wanted to go to war.'' Beneath the fluff, a fascinating insider's view of historic events of the past 50 years, especially those involving John and Robert Kennedy. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13578-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1995


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