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A Reporter's Life

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,252 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
He has been called the most trusted man in America. His 60-year-long journalistic career has spanned the Great Depression, several wars, and the extraordinary changes that have engulfed our nation over the last two-thirds of the 20th century. When Walter Cronkite advised his television audience in 1968 that the war in Vietnam could not be won, President Lyndon B. Johnson s ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 27th 1996 by Knopf (first published December 12th 1991)
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Best Memoir / Biography / Autobiography
367th out of 3,311 books — 3,801 voters
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Mar 11, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. Cronkite was an icon & actually lived up to his reputation. A fantastic reporter with real integrity. I was sorry this was abridged, but it was still really good.
Scott Martin
Sep 28, 2010 Scott Martin rated it really liked it
A good autobiography on what is now an extinct breed: The great professional journalist. No longer will anyone in journalism have the reputation or credibility that Cronkite had during his prime. What replaces him these days cannot even compare. It is amazing to read how Cronkite saw the world, being a direct observer to some of the greatest events of the 20th century. Now, was Cronkite His commentary on Vietnam has been decried by several in the military and he made no secret of h ...more
Feb 13, 2013 Samuel rated it liked it
Shelves: history
For the most part I felt the author to be mildly to moderately cocky, and arrogant in his narrative. This is understandable to some degree considering the fact it's an autobiography and the natural inclination is to portrays yourself the hero, but at times it was almost too much to bear.

While there were some moments of humility and humor, more frequently I felt it took on a "snobbish" tone and too much of it was a recounting of major events in which he participated in, or people he rubbed shoul
Aug 30, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
Reading this book felt like sitting down to cocktails with a much smarter Forrest Gump. Cronkite was literally inserted into almost every major news story of the 1900s- and talks about major historical figures as his friends. A very enjoyable and very accessible historical read. Also notable were his thoughts on television and the future of democracy and the media.
Will Byrnes
Walter Cronkite tells his life story, from roots in Kansas City and later Houston, through days as a sports announcer, from newspapers to radio to television. It is an interesting but not compelling read from an American institution. He holds some rather progressive notions concerning war and peace, yet talks about how appalled he was at the clothing his daughter wore in the 1960’s. He is most entertaining when writing about his experiences as a reporter in Moscow, when telling about Mayor Daley ...more
Sep 12, 2015 Erin rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographies
This book had a lot of potential. It started out great, and through out Cronkite gives some amazing accounts of people he got to meet and interview and events he was able to be apart of. However, he often would get off subject and go on a tangent about something, and I felt that it would take away from some of the stories he was originally telling.
The most disappointing was the ending. The last 2 chapters seemed to be a long rant by Cronkite about the problems with the news "today" (the book wa
Don LaFountaine
Jul 16, 2015 Don LaFountaine rated it liked it
This was an interesting memoir from one of the most recognizable people that was on television.

I was too young to have experienced his broadcasts first hand, though through re-runs and archive video footage I have a grasp of his influence on American society. He reported on World War II, the assassination of President Kennedy, the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the peace accord between Egypt and Israel to name a few of the items. The reader is given Walter's point of view of these world changing e
Jan 08, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
During his tenure as the anchor of the “Evening News” on CBS, Walter Cronkite was widely recognized as one of the most trusted journalists in the nation. His reputation for honesty and fairness was earned over the course of a long career that began in newspapers before moving on to radio and eventually to television. This memoir captures his recollections of that career, providing us with a detailed glimpse into many of the pivotal events of the previous century. From World War II to Vietnam, th ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Pat rated it really liked it
I'm 59, so grew up watching "Papa Cronkite" every night. But I was mainly interested in this book as a print journalist.
Times have really changed in the industry since Cronkite's radio broadcast and WWII combat reporter days. The demise of cities with multiple papers and the rise of TV "infomation" newscasts are cited negatively here. Newsrooms will never again see the integrity and absolute adherence to facts that he did ...
It was fascinating to see what Cronkite was really thinking during thos
Anita Schweppe
Jan 19, 2014 Anita Schweppe rated it liked it
Well written. Very interesting to read about the history of television news and the life of a correspondent during those years. Very interesting to read about some of the events he covered as well. A bit of a tribute to himself and somewhat preachy in the last chapter as to what he thinks the future of the media should be. He was clearly an adrenaline junky and grew frustrated in his later years by being sidelined. He was treated less than well at times and seemingly responded in an adult and ci ...more
Pamela Hawley
Jul 22, 2015 Pamela Hawley rated it liked it
After my beloved Oma passed, I went through her book collection and came across Walter Cronkite’s autobiography, A Reporter's Life. I had always known about Walter Cronkite but had been too young to watch his broadcasts. I knew that my Oma and Grandfather held him in high esteem as a leader of the nation. People flocked to see his broadcasts as he was somebody they trusted.

A Reporter's Life chronicles Mr. Cronkite, his family, and the development of his early reporting days. It catalogs amazin
Aug 02, 2011 Todd rated it did not like it
An icon of the news industry wrote this book in 1996, over a decade after retiring from his anchor desk on CBS. This autobiography takes you on a trip through Cronkites life, how he got there and the interesting things he seen along the way.

But this story is told through his eyes, and at times his vision is boring. This book was one of the hardest I have ever read. While there were parts that made me want to finish, these nuggets were few and far between, in my opinion. Being a fan of Cronkite,
Julie H.
Mar 18, 2013 Julie H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I'm rounding up from the 3 1/2 stars I would ideally like to award Cronkite's A Reporter's Life, published in 1996, some 13 years before his death. As with any such work, its author had an astounding window from which to witness momentous geopolitical events in addition to the changes within print, broadcast, and increasingly cable and internet news sources.

Cronkite writes with a somewhat self-deprecating style, acknowledges the extreme good fortune he has enjoyed in his personal and professiona
Mar 27, 2008 Theresa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every American
Shelves: glad-i-read-it
A truly uplifting book--as strange as that may sound. Walter Cronkite has seen everything, done everything, been everywhere, and lived to report about it; but, despite his harrowing experiences in multiple wars, firsthand observations of Communist-Russia, and front row seats to numerous White House scandals, Cronkite remains positive about America's, and the world's, potential. His observations are honest and refreshing without being preachy or overly self-important.

But, don't think you're going
Jun 21, 2010 Katy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I happened upon a museum exhibit of Walter Cronkite, and it made me want to know a little more about him. Also, I realized that his career spanned my life, and I might get a good history lesson that would educate me about things I often ignore in the newspaper.

No fault to Mr. Cronkite, but I guess reading someone's autobiography hoping to become educated in recent world history was kind of a stretch, and unfair to the author. As he described his young life, I found myself not too interested...Ho
John Brooke
Jul 16, 2013 John Brooke rated it it was ok

This is a book written totally from the perspective of the United States and its far reaching impact on the rest of the world.

I’m not a citizen of the United States and found the tsunami of media personalities, that are presumably household familiar names, may stir up memories for Americans, but it was damn boring for me to wade through.

His recollections of meeting with the powerful heads of state and the nuremberg trails were a relief to read. Unfortunately they were buried in
Sep 08, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
To be honest, I needed a "plane book" for my flight to Minneapolis. Something light and breezy, but not mindless. I spotted this at the Powell's bookstore at PDX on my way out. It proved fine for the purpose - chapters were short but interesting, there was enough biographic detail to keep me interested, and his angles on the world events on which he reported were certainly fun to read -- the news behind the news so to speak. Parts of it were predictable -- he liked JFK -- he did not like the Bus ...more
Aug 28, 2009 Siobhan rated it liked it
The other day, I picked up this book in the Charleston airport. It was a choice between that and Dreams from my Father. I hope to get to the other one later. In the meantime, this is something of a disappointment. I'll slog through to the end, but it will definitely be a slog. I wouldn't be reading this at all if Cronkite hadn't just died. So reading this is really an act of homage to a great man. And he was a great man. He just isn't much of a writer. Or at least, his writing in this book is a ...more
Ken Bickley
Dec 08, 2014 Ken Bickley rated it really liked it
As memoirs go, this one is a very good one. Cronkite covers a lot of ground, and a lot of history in his book. He had a unique vantage point for many of the most important events of the 20th century, and wrote very well indeed. The final chapter is an indictment of TV journalism as it later evolved, and actually for journalism as a whole. History buffs will enjoy the book for its many insights into those important events, and the final chapter should be must reading for all US citizens.
Chuck Mcilhenny
Jan 17, 2015 Chuck Mcilhenny rated it liked it
The highly-respected Mr. Cronkite certainly has earned the right to pontificate about the growth of and changes in the production of network TV news, and journalism in general. While I appreciate his high ideals, the dated nature of the book (nearly 20 years old now) gives Uncle Walt a real "hey you kids, get off my lawn" feel at this point in time. Things never will be the same as when he was at the top of his game, and though that's sad, his closing chapters seem to ring more of chastisement o ...more
Linda C
Mar 25, 2013 Linda C rated it really liked it
Walter Cronkite’s life chronicles the rise and fall of news reporting, in my opinion. He started as a delivery and errand boy, then news gatherer and writer, then into radio news and the wire services and finally into TV in its infancy. He loved being a newspaperman and always considered himself that even when he was an anchor. He says he tried to keep the news he presented factual and impartial, whatever his personal opinion. I grew up with his broadcasts and admired his integrity. His book cov ...more
Feb 04, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book for several reasons. First, Cronkite's observations on the historical events of the mid- and late 20th century are so interesting--he was an eyewitness to WWII in Europe, the Nuremburg trials, Cold War Moscow, the Vietnam War, the Watergate crisis, and the administrations of every American president since FDR. His account of his ascent from cub reporter at the Daily Texan to being anchorman of the most watched news program on TV is filled with witty anecdotes and keen observa ...more
Jim Aker
Sep 09, 2009 Jim Aker rated it it was amazing
Walter Cronkite was one of the world's finest newsmen and a profoundly good person. In this 1996 autobiography, Cronkite gives us a cross section of his most interesting, eventful, and sometimes amazing life. From his early days as a newspaper stringer and radio sports announcer to his marathon at the Anchor Desk of CBS News, Cronkite's dedication to the story and not the talking points and his unimpeachable reputation for reporting only the unvarnished facts, made Uncle Walter a fixture in Amer ...more
Jared Manning
Jul 02, 2015 Jared Manning rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies, history
A very interesting read. I really wanted to read this book to learn of Cronkite's description of the JFK assassination, and man landing on the moon (since he is so iconic in both events). Those were covered, but not in great detail. I found it interesting to learn that he grew up in Kansas City, and how he came to be the reporter that he was. I obviously did not agree with him on many topics, but his perspective was fascinating.
Tiffany Wilbourn
May 27, 2010 Tiffany Wilbourn rated it liked it
Man, Walter's vocabulary is intense!!! It took me forever to get through this book but I wanted to read his views on all of the historical events he was able to report on. I think he had a lot of journalistic integrity but that he was a bit pompous as well. I prob would be too in that elevated position. The end was terrible as I really don't care about the procedure of behind the scenes production of a newscast and the "business" behind it all. 3/4 of the book was pretty interesting. Walter seem ...more
Aug 04, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it
Walter Cronkite reports many of the salient details from his life, from childhood, his marriage, to his career in newspapers and television. Chock full of memories recounted in sharp focus, Cronkite tells of his apprenticeship in news; experiencing several wars; meeting various heads of state and several U.S. Presidents; and numerous life experiences that would each qualify as "once in a lifetime".

I thoroughly enjoyed almost the entire book, the entire portion that read as a story teller would r
Don Halpert
Nov 04, 2014 Don Halpert rated it it was amazing
Cronkite was the newscaster of my youth. I watched him every night. He had a fascinating career and was devoted to objective reporting. When he started radio he modulated his presentation to 70 words per minute. He practiced that pace. An great character of the 20th Century.
Nov 20, 2015 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The most fascinating chapter in the book (10) is Cronkite’s comparison of the presidents. “Making comparative rankings of Presidents is an unnecessary exercise fraught with contention but otherwise relatively harmless.” He discussed the presidents since Hoover.

In reviewing his career, he outlines the frequent switching of jobs before he landed at CBS television news. His early newspaper training which emphasized the search for truth and the need to examine and tell the truth without being influe
Douglas Graney
Jul 15, 2015 Douglas Graney rated it it was ok
This book reads like an old man telling stories that just ramble and don't end up going anywhere. The only real coherence are his reflections on the Vietnam War. The rest of the book lurches from one story to another going on tangents along the way.
Apr 27, 2013 Judee rated it it was amazing
I rarely read autobiographies, maybe even never. I found this book at a garage sale for 25 cents and, sadly, it had barely been opened. This man, Walter Cronckite, was a part of my life for the 19 years he served our nation as the trusted news anchor on CBS News. Every night he came into our home, calmly told us the days events, and signed off with " And that's the way it is...(date)" His life was so rich. In this memoir, he recalls his whole life and all the many places he had been. It makes yo ...more
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Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an iconic American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for The CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–81). During the heyday of CBS News in the 1970s and 1980s he was often cited in viewer opinion polls as "the most trusted man in America," because of his professional experience and avuncular demeanor. Cronkite died on July 17, 2009, at the age of 92 from cer ...more
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