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Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times
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Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  323 ratings  ·  34 reviews
"Thank You, Mr. President."
From the woman who has reported on every president from Kennedy to Clinton comes a privileged glimpse into the White House -- and a telling record of the ever-changing relationship between the presidency and the press.
Helen Thomas wanted to be a reporter from her earliest years. She turned a copy-aide job at the Washington Daily News into a p
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 3rd 2000 by Scribner (first published May 1st 1999)
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Oh Helen. Why don't you tell me a little about yourself? I want to know what makes you tick. What made you and how you feel. I do not want an endless monologue about the people you met in your career and the awards and accolades you have won. After trudging through the first half of your book, I know more about the last eight Presidents of the US than I know about you. And the book is suppose to be about you! Or so says the title.
Thomas shares many interesting and compelling anecdotes and insight in this book. The surprisingly poor organization and writing nearly caused me stop reading it. Think twice about how much time you have to invest in reading before you start this book!
Interested in having a chat with someone who has known and reported on eight US Presidents? That's basically what this book is. A candid, off-the-cuff chat with Helen Thomas about everything from Monica Lewinsky to Watergate to the many charities that have benefited from the First Ladies of the US.

As Thomas carries you through her own story, each of the First Ladies and then each POTUS from Kennedy to Clinton this book has a bit of repetition, some parts that could have been tightened up a bit
Many people didn't seem to like Helen Thomas~I was always interested in her. This book offered me a great POV of a reporter as well as different POV's of the presidents and news she observed. There was a lot of information in this book about private moments in the White House, funny moments, and a lot more. A great read for me and for anyone wanting to have a more inside look at the Presidents that were covered by her.
How in the name of common sense did Helen Thomas, mistress of the concise question and pithy press piece, forget a simple proverb that has served her so well? Namely, Short and Sweet is Hard to Beat.

The stories she tells succeed at about a 60% clip. Not bad for a memoir. And, she was in alot of the right places at alot of the right times to have a treasure chest of wonderful anecdotes. But, she tells them in a whirlwind fashion with few pauses and little by way of transitions. Its not quite stre
It was an interesting read to find out what the life of a White House reporter is really like. I found the way she broke up the book to be a bit disjointed, but it was still a decent read. There were plenty of insider tidbits about the Presidents she's covered (Kennedy to Clinton - she's still there covering Obama, to my knowledge, but she stopped at Clinton for the sake of this book), which was fun; but overall you learned more about her. I would've liked to have heard a little more about her e ...more
Tom Spann
Thomas makes no bones about her liberal leanings, but throughout her tenure with UPI she never lost sight of her mission as a reporter. Thomas remained a constant throughout the eight administrations she covered. The variable over those years were the administrations themselves. It is that variable that I found most interesting about her book. Eight presidents and eight wildly variable views of the press and the president 's relationship with the people who reported White House news. Helen did n ...more
I recently attended a CityClub meeting at which Helen Thomas was honored/shared some of her personal stories. She is truly an amazing woman. So witty, bright, intuative, and funny. And, what a trailblazer. I really enjoyed learning more about her background (I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she's Lebanese American) and the history of the relationship between the press and the white house.
Plain, journalistic writing but the insider anecdotes held my interest. This book spans Thomas's early life and career and ends with the Clinton administration. Thomas began covering the White House in the Kennedy years and has a lot to say about the character and politics of all of these men and their families.
Got this as a used book. It was o.k, a little disappointing. The first part jumps around back and forth from president to president, sometimes one paragraph to the next. Toward the end she gets more chronological but then it becomes mostly just history you've read other places. I felt it needed a better editor!
I put this on my list when Thomas died last month. Interesting read, although it becomes tedious near the end, as she labors to summarize in fairly minute detail each of the presidencies she covered. Better, to my mind, were her personal anecdotes about the very flawed, very real men and women she covered.

There were many interesting anecdotes in
this book, but overall it was a very large disappointment. The writing was surprisingly
poor and the narrative disorganized and there
was no personal portrait of the famous journalist herself.
Helen Thomas’s autobiography is a testament to a life unexamined and a world of inconsequence. Nothing is connected; there is only news.
I give up. I've suffered through 182 pages if this rambling pointless monologue and I'm beat. The 5 pages on Air Force One food did me in. Helen Thomas is a great reporter, but she is no writer.
I felt like the book told a lot of what she saw, but not enough of who she is. That being said, I did learn a lot and really enjoyed Helen's stories of her amazing career.
As much as I love Helen Thomas, I can't believe how poorly written this book is. She has incredible memories but this book is scattered and disjointed. Not worth the read.
A very entertaining and informative read from a woman who has lived a fascinating life. Definitely recommend this to those interested in politics and American history.
I loved Personal History so much that my judgment on this is probably skewed, but I wasn't impressed with this. It's more self-serving and name-dropping than revealing.
LOL What a bad ass! She was one tough old bird...I am grateful that we had her. Too bad she had to go out on a sour note; muzzled by AIPAC. Great book!

Jul 17, 2007 Kristin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Tid bits of stories about the last 9 presidents. Written by a white house press journalist. I loved the history and commentary provided by Helen Thomas.
My autographed copy says "Good luck on your career in journalism." While I traded a career in journalism for one in law, Helen Thomas is still my idol!
Will Byrnes
Helen can be annoying, and it could have been much better, but it does give one a taste of what it is to be a White House correspondent.
Interesting read if you're interested in American presidents, even though Thomas appears to be a bit full of herself sometimes.
Have always respected Helen Thomas - was interesting to read things from her perspective. Like her even more now.
Lots of interesting tidbits about the several presidents and first ladies she has covered.
Interesting stories, but no compelling narrative to keep me reading the whole thing.
Carolynn Duncan
A really cool behind the scenes view of the White House from Helen Thomas.
Linda Zelig
Lots of history here--it must be accurate, she's a journalist!
Desireé Reese
I gave up as it was sooooo slow and came across as unorganized
This woman is amazing. Such great stories, and such a funny lady.
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Helen Thomas is a noted news service reporter, a Hearst Newspapers columnist, and member of the White House Press Corps. She served for fifty-seven years as a correspondent and, later, White House bureau chief for United Press International (UPI). Thomas has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, was the first woman officer of the National Press Club, was the first woman member and preside ...more
More about Helen Thomas...
Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President: Wit and Wisdom from the Front Row at the White House Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do As It Was & World Without End Under Storm's Wing

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“Proof of the power of the press is the fear of the press by the government.

Martha Gellhorn as quoted by Helen Thomas”
“Anybody in public life is well aware of how important the judgments of the press are. I'm firmly convinced that if the good Lord had made the world today, he would have spent six days creating the heavens and earth and all the living creatures upon it. But on the seventh day, he would not have rested. He would have had to justify it to Helen Thomas. (Gerald Ford as quoted by Helen Thomas.)” 5 likes
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