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Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  235 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
The bulk of the interviews in this oral history were conducted in the days immediately following the anchorman's death from lung cancer in August 2005. Friends and fellow reporters retrace every step of his career, offering an intimate portrait of the late journalist and news anchor.
Hardcover, Large Print, 561 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Thorndike Press (first published 2007)
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Will Byrnes
The editors took interviews with many (82) people that had been conducted in preparation for a memorial for Peter on TV soon after his passing, at age 67. They mixed and matched quotes from these folks, ordering the mass into a chronological sequence of his life. It works much better than it sounds.


Jennings comes across as a true superstar. Son of Charles Jennings, considered by many the Edward R. Murrow of Canada, he had the genes and connections for success, but an affinity for mischief and a
Jan 12, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Told through brief interviews by the people who knew him best, we glean a little bit more about the man, the son, the brother, the father, the journalist, the reporter, the anchor, the editor, the mentor, the colleague and the friend all of whom encompass Peter Jennings.

Below are some of the things that struck a chord with me:

Peter Jennings was as complex as the world around us.

Regarding the War on Terror, the President said "if you are not with us, you're against us". Jennings believed that the
I was saddened by the death of Peter Jennings. I had watched him for many years and I felt he was an honest reporter. If I ever became famous, I wanted him (and no one else) to interview me. When he died, I looked for a biography, but there wasn't one. I was surprised by that, but then something shiny caught my attention and I moved on to other things. Then last December when I was in Barnes and Noble looking for a birthday present for Krista, I saw Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life. I bought it ...more
Jul 01, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I revisited this book after an interruption of a few years and the gap made the contents of this heartfelt tribute to reporter and late ABC News anchor Peter Jennings even more poignant and distressing. Compiled after Jennings' 2007 death from lung cancer, the book virtually consists entirely of quotes from Jennings, his family members, friends and colleagues. What emerges is a portrait of an extraordinary man who quit high school to work in a bank but because of his innate understanding of how ...more
Friends and colleagues share recollections of this magnificent man, telling of his gracious manner, charm, sincerity, fairness, resoluteness, and insatiable curiosity (and the list could go on much longer). His father was one of Canada's most prominent broadcasters, but Peter dropped out of high school, being interested more in comic books and girls than what he learned in the classroom. He spent the rest of his life making up for his lack of formal education by constantly seeking the stories th ...more
Sep 20, 2010 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, bio-memoir
Peter Jennings was the my parent's anchor of choice. Although he did something to irritate my dad and they quit watching while I was away at college, Jennings is still the voice of the nightly news of my childhood. I enjoyed this book because it was told mostly through recollections of his friends and family. It was an interesting compilation of facts and memories, and I thought the entire thing was extremely touching. Because it is a more of a tribute than a biography, I wouldn't recommend this ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Joyce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm learning so much about Peter Jennings. The oral history approach is a bit repetitive, though. I'd like a straight biography better.
Feb 05, 2017 Megan rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this biography. It's not written in a typical fashion. Excerpts from interviews with more than 80 people (mostly done shortly after Peter's death) were taken and put together into a narrative. Interspersed are also quotes through the years from Peter himself. It sounds odd, but it really works well here.
Aug 14, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over eight years since the world lost the late Peter Jennings. In these 296 pages, the legendary ABC anchorman’s widow, Kayce Freed Jennings and others help us remember who and what we lost.

An ABC correspondent, Lynn Sherr apparently had a lot to do with the creation of this printed memoir. Sherr first suggested to her friend, Kayce, that she publish a book based on an ABC News special that aired three days after Jennings’ death. This retrospective on her
Amanda Wilson-McDougle
I can not write enough praise for this thoughtfully written biography of Peter Jennings. Until I absorbed the truth of being the Chief Editor at ABC Nightly News, I did not know what Jennings experienced. He was not a nice guy when it came to proof-reading reports from his team of journalists. He spent hours marking up their reports with red pens, fixing punctuation marks, and improving sentences. This editor meant business and demanded excellence from his journalists.

What made me impressed was
Josh McConnell
To say Peter Jennings lived a full and exciting life would be an understatement. Flipping through the pages of Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life, one can quickly piece together the fascinating narrative that Jennings lived. Born in Canada -- and a proud Canadian -- Jennings was a high school drop out, yet found work in the United States as a broadcast journalist. After not finding success as America's youngest news anchor, he earned his stripes through traveling the world to cover stories and th ...more
Andrew Clark
Jan 13, 2013 Andrew Clark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
As someone who works as a reporter, I have always held Peter Jennings in high regard. He had a straight-forward style that is seldom seen today. His oral biography, told by himself and those that worked with him or knew him, is a great read. At times, it can be confusing trying to correlate how people worked with him (producers, cameramen, etc.) The chapters on September 11, international reporting and his succumbing to cancer are excellent and present principles of reporting that are missed tod ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Carol added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy biography and current events.
This book is interesting because it discusses Peter Jennings' personal and professional life from the perspective of the people who worked with him. He was essentially a self-taught journalist, since he did not go to College. He was a Canadian who travelled around the world covering news and finally earning the top job in TV news, in the United States. After reading this book, I felt that I had a better understanding of what it takes to be an accomplished journalist and news Anchor. Everyone quo ...more
Dec 27, 2008 Shanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good book that I got from my sister for Christmas. It's a biography of Peter Jennings, but it's comprised of snippets of interviews with people who knew him, which makes it really interesting to read. You hear from people he worked with, other well-known news anchors, and his family and friends. It was really cool to get to learn about his earlier life and how he got into the news business, and also what he was like off camera. You also get a glimpse of how the news industry ch ...more
"The truth is that life - which is in a corny way... The truth of the matter is that how our consciences guide us every day in the littlest of things - not the grandest of things..."~ Peter Jennings
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault
Those little things create some memorable moments that make our life more fulfilling. Did I pay any attention to little things today?

It's been a slow read, in a good way!! The author presented
Feb 20, 2008 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told in a series of interview clips from his friends, family, and colleagues, this book details the amazing story of Peter Jennings, the son of a famous Canadian radio newsman, who became an intrepid reporter and then anchor of ABCs World News Tonight.

With a curiosity and intellect that belied his status as a high school drop out, Jennings brought a specific Canadian sensibility to mainstream American news - a philosophy that Americans need to understand the world around them and their place in
Jan 05, 2011 Kirstie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-bio
Peter Jennings was an amazing anchorman and reporter, and this book barely scratches the surface of what he's done. In a small way this book captures, truly, how inspiring this man was. Instead of sitting down and having someone research all of the facts about Peter's life, the book tells you about Peter directly from Peter and the people that knew him best. The book contains many excepts of what people have said about Peter. When reading the book one gets the feeling that one is reading a docum ...more
Theresa Malloy
Mar 10, 2016 Theresa Malloy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: by-journalists
Peter Jennings' closest friends and colleagues put together this book that weaves their interviews through Peter's journalism career and life that ended when he died of lung cancer in 2005. He is a man with incredible passion, enthusiasm and work ethic. His philosophy in journalism is something that I can completely identify with - tell the truth no matter what, ask tough questions, believe your audience is smart and realize every person has a story that matters. It was an inspiration and uplift ...more
Kate Casey
Nov 11, 2009 Kate Casey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am fascinated by journalists and Peter Jennings was undoubtedly one of the greatest. The book has great stories from a variety of colleagues and his family. You finish the book having great respect for someone who challenged American viewers to have interest in international news. It is ironic that this man who had a fascination with the Middle East was born and raised in Canada and would go onto to become an American citizen after working years as an anchor for the evening news in the States.
Apr 02, 2008 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. He lead a very interesting life and had high ideals which pushed others to succeed. The only fault I have is that Peter must have been a saint because he seemed to walk on water. Evene if they were mad at him it was alright but surely there must have been times that they hated him. It was also very repetitive as far as comments from co-workers. But I still enjoyed his assignments and work ethic. He did seem remarkable and I am sure is missed deeply.
Feb 11, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the structure of this book most--- somehow they managed to form a cohesive plot from interviews that were conducted right after he died. It jumps from person to person's comments about various aspects of his life. It really read nicely (and quickly), and gave insight that sometimes he was a jerk (I love honesty in biographies rather then blatant ass-kissing), but in the end, you still like Peter Jennings and wish you knew him. The mark of a good biography.
Dec 22, 2013 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came of age with Peter Jennings reporting the news. I've always admired him, loved listening to him report. It is only after reading this book and lots of hindsight that I truly come to understand the real influence that Peter had on my passion for world events, my curiosity about the world and my constant need to know more. He is missed as much today as the day he left this world.
Dec 31, 2007 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great way to tell the story of Peter Jennings - through the quotes and memories of others. There are some profound comments by Peter in the book. It also highlights Peter's understanding that U.S. citizens need to be involved, interested, and understand the cultures, politics, etc. in others countries in the world.
May 06, 2008 Bill marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
good book! Told oraly that means its like an interview typ book peters life told by his friends and familey. If ur a fan of jennings then get this book but dont go wasting over 25 bucks for it see if u can get it used or on sale. The book is good but not that good but it does give you alot to read over 459 pages!
Sherry vanwey
Feb 06, 2008 Sherry vanwey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing look at the life of a man who devoted his life to finding and reporting the truth. If you want to know why Peter Jennings seemed so knowledgeable when all he appeared to be doing was sitting behind the anchor desk, then read this book. He travelled the world to get the story, and he made sure everyone around him was as devoted as he was.
Jan 01, 2008 Eileen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in being informed about world news
I gained a deeper appreciation for Peter Jennings, someone I admire. Peter led a privileged life and had rare entry into the global stage. This tomb pays tribute to high standards, hard work, compassion, and holding true to one's personal values. I found myself sobbing, finishing it up in the early hours of the morning, reading Peter's son, Christopher's, eulogy to his Dad.
Lori Goldstein
Aug 01, 2010 Lori Goldstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-others
I enjoyed this biography more than any other I've read over the past several years. The main reason was Mr. Jennings life, work ethic, etc. was told through memories of friends, family and collegues.
Dec 18, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was actually my second read-through on this book. I needed some inspiration when I picked it up. Peter Jennings was an autodidact - a trait that we share. I re-read the book as a sort of pep talk to help me gear up for a blitz of learning new materials.
Dan Cooke
Dec 04, 2007 Dan Cooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter is my hero. After dropping out of high school he found his way to the number one chair at ABC news. How did he do that? This book has helped me to understand how he accomplished that journey. Simple curiosity and the desire to learn can take you a long way, my friend. Peter is proof.
"Nowhere else you go will the "un" prefix be applied to a nationality, the way that we say something is un-American. You will discover - if you haven't already - that as you rub shoulders with the world, being German or Chinese, for example, is a fact, but to be American is an ideal."
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Kate Darnton is an American writer, author and parent. She lives in New Delhi.

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