A journalist's memoir focusing on his writing about the civil rights movement during the 1960s and ’70s.
Retired New York Times reporter Reed (Faubus: The Life and Times of an American Prodigal, 1997, etc.), born in 1930, recounts his journey through a range of controversial stories. He briefly discusses his Arkansas childhood, his education at the University of Missouri Journalism School and his journey from small-town reporting to the Times. Although he thought he understood the Southern mentality on race, Reed learned that the relatively mild racism of his childhood did not compare to the more virulent brand in the Deep South, including Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Rather than letting his personal beliefs guide his reporting, Reed disciplined himself to get along with everybody as much as possible; publishing an important, clear story trumped individual glory for journalistic scoops. In addition to reporting about race in the South, Reed served as a London correspondent for the Times, as well as a Washington, D.C., correspondent—a position that often seemed more disorienting than an overseas posting. During the full term of Lyndon Johnson, Reed covered White House politics intensely. When Hubert Humphrey, Johnson's vice president, tried to replace his boss in the White House, Reed wrote about the 1968 presidential campaign almost every day. When Republican Richard Nixon prevailed, the author had to become accustomed to dealing professionally with a president quite different from the Democratic candidate.
A compelling tour of a journalist’s life from an intelligent, charming guide.