Provides insight into living an authentic life without necessarily being devoted to a cause or vocation.

A Beginner's Life


A former CBS newsman recalls his experiences as a journalist and spiritual seeker.

There probably aren’t many memoirs in which the author recalls everything from an arrest for hitchhiking in Wyoming and a dawn meditation at the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in Poona, India, to a religious epiphany in a New York subway station and writing news copy for Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather. Such, though, is the material that Phillips draws from in his entertaining, thoughtful memoir. “An authentic way of life does not have to be a single-minded devotion to one cause or vocation,” he writes. “It can be a way of adventure, letting yourself be blown about by the wind, exposing the mind to a wide range of experience.” Phillips’ father was an Associated Press correspondent who was “so painfully shy he apparently failed to get a decent interview on his own in three years at the London bureau.” Phillips started his journalism career as a copy boy in the CBS radio newsroom. At 32, he was hired as news editor at the Evening News. The legendary Cronkite was “unwilling to be beaten on any important story, or let any question in his own mind go unanswered,” while Rather’s “problem was that he didn’t have much to say.” A glamorous career wasn’t enough for Phillips, who was also “hungry for spiritual kicks”—hence the trip to India. The bhagwan’s teachings, he recalls, “appeared to exacerbate the worst qualities of his disciples.” Eventually, Phillips, who had divorced his first wife, married a Presbyterian minister and, at the Columbus Circle subway station, experienced what “felt like a giant can-opener...laying me open to a cataract of water that poured down and bathed my soul.” At 58, he suffered a “devastating loss” when CBS did not renew his contract. But in what he calls his “dotage,” he has taught English as a second language and found a Zen-like contentment gazing at the Hudson River. “When the wind blows over the water, what moves, the wind or the water?” he asks. “Answer: the mind moves.”

Provides insight into living an authentic life without necessarily being devoted to a cause or vocation.

Pub Date: March 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-938812-53-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Full Court Press

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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