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A Reporter's Life

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  965 ratings  ·  123 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,041)
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Jim
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
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 perfect...no. His commentary on Vietnam has been decried by several in the military and he made no secret of h ...more
Pat
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
...more
Anita
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
Todd
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,
...more
Julie H.
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
...more
Theresa
Mar 27, 2008 Theresa rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
...more
Samuel
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
...more
Katy
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
...more
John Brooke
THIS IS NOT NEWS

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
...more
Mary
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
Siobhan
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
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.
Linda C
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
Rebecca
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
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
Tiffany Wilbourn
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
Tom
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
...more
Don Halpert
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.
Jerry
Walter Cronkite’s autobiography is an odd beast. He seems to have little introspection; his stories read like urban legends. On the other hand, he’s lived through some amazing times, and has seen dominance in journalism move from newspaper to radio to television.
Judee
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
Chuck
I enjoyed Cronkite's easy going style and reporting more than I enjoyed his somewhat self serving autobiography. Cronkite highlights his activity from his childhood through two World Wars, Korea, Viet Nam, civil rights, Kennedy's assasination, every president from Wilson to Reagan, moon landings, Watergate and political conventions. Although I lived through most of those activities and was a respectful viewer, I learned from this work that there was a more competitive, biased and political perso ...more
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
J.F. Porter
Absolutely wonderful. Every student of journalism should have to read this book. If not only to learn about the great talent and intelligence of Walter Cronkite, but to see how journalism has changed over the past few decades.
Cheryl Schibley
Jul 18, 2009 Cheryl Schibley rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in our Presidents
Upon hearing of the death of Walter, I remembered I'd read his wonderful book. It is chock full of presidential anecdotes because he knew every president of his time quite well. He said Jimmy Carter was by far the smartest president, Nixon was strange in that at a state dinner he started counting ceiling tiles and that JFK was spoiled at first but then under pressure of the Cuban Missile crisis came into his own and Walter believes he would have been one of our greatest presidents. He loved Bill ...more
Annette
Loved his description of play-by-play calls from a football game when his telegraph feed went down and he actually had no idea what was happening in the game!
Arlene
Jun 28, 2014 Arlene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Soooo interesting! Loved reading about the details of his life and the moments in history he participated in.
Sherry
It took me 2-3 chapters to get Andy Rooney's voice out of my head. :) While I know who Walter Cronkite is, I never watched him on tv and didn't hear his voice until the 60 minutes, or some other program's, salute to him after he died.

The book was great. I really liked the way he described his life as a reporter. He gave a great behind the scenes look. Mostly, he was really great at simply telling a story. Turns out he's also funny. :) While reading, I felt like a grandchild sitting on the couch
...more
Erica S
Feb 21, 2010 Erica S rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: American history buffs, journalists
In my lifetime, I never had the opportunity to tune in to Cronkite's nightly newscasts. I know now that I missed a truly special era in American history, but reading this book makes me understand why.

A fantastic book, with a full and in-depth knowledge and history told through the words of a witty and intelligent man. Cronkite never shied away from sharing his thoughts on certain historical events, and I enjoyed when he discussed how different events changed and developed all types of media.

A
...more
John
A very good bio of Uncle Walter
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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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