Personal and professional memories (though never intimate- -that's not his style) from a man not much given to ``self- oriented, navel-examining profundities,'' revealing a scrupulous, genial, generous spirit possessing a passionate, informed concern for the future of journalism. Cronkite recalls, reflects, opines, and offers some superlative stories to illustrate the way it was. He writes affectionately of his childhood and avuncularly of the young self in whom he locates the roots of the man he became. WW II was formative: He files United Press dispatches from Europe when ``communications weren't difficult, they were nonexistent.'' Russia came next, and proved dreary and duplicitous; having a visceral aversion to regimentation, he chafed under the Soviet bureaucracy. His improvisational bent served him well in the early years of TV news: Cronkite, who once broadcast imaginary football games, extemporized easily from only a list of the day's stories. Recounting the low-tech escapades of that era, he's as frisky as he is thoughtful later, for instance when characterizing the presidents he's known (Carter had the best brain; Nixon, ``the outstanding phoenix of our time,'' actually ``seemed imbalanced'' at moments), and when searchingly reviewing the Vietnam debacle from misguided genesis to sorry legacies (``a generation of officers later, there still lurks the belief that the media lost the war''). Cronkite consistently praises the CBS of his tenure for courage but hands Black Rock a black eye for its thrall to the bottom line: That news should ``pay off'' like other investments is a ``travesty,'' he asserts, positing a public responsibility to support quality journalism. The ``narrow intellectual crawl space'' that is television news is ever more compressed; ``Will the journalism center hold?'' Cronkite bears out our trust in him as he bears wise witness to our collective adventures of the past half-century; he endears himself anew when he good-humoredly shares his own. (16 pages b&w photos) (Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour)
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").
This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)