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Reporter: A Memoir

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,218 ratings  ·  210 reviews
Seymour Hersh's fearless reporting has earned him fame, front-page bylines in virtually every major newspaper in the free world, honors galore, and no small amount of controversy. Now in this memoir he describes what drove him and how he worked as an independent outsider, even at the nation's most prestigious publications. He tells the stories behind the stories--riveting ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  1,218 ratings  ·  210 reviews


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Diane
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an incredible memoir about journalism and American politics. Seymour Hersh, perhaps most famous for his reporting on the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, tells the story of how he got his start in news and shares fascinating stories about the events he's covered in the last five decades.

My favorite sections were Hersh's reporting in Vietnam — especially the story of how he tracked down the various people involved in My Lai — Hersh's experiences covering politics in Washington, an
...more
Mehrsa
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I love what Hersh has done for America and for journalism. He is one of the great investigative journalists of our time. I sort of wish I hadn't read this memoir because he comes off as kind of a self-important asshole. I suppose you would have to be to break so many stories, but he seems to distrust everybody and do a lot of fighting.
Susan
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Someone reviewed this book saying they thought he came of as a self important asshole and that’s exactly what I thought he was not. We need smart and persistent investigative reporters, and those likely to be good at it will be loners, with confidence in their abilities and methods, and hopefully, like Hersh, rigorous and honest. I found him charming in his way. He worked well with editors and reporters he trusted but moved at his own pace and following his instincts. He would not be particularl ...more
David Roy
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seymour Hersh has done an excellent job of reporting for decades and this memoir explains what steps and approaches he has used to break into and expose events and people that were intensely contrary to public norms and assumptions, including the first, the My Lai Massacre. His "secret"? He is persistent; he is impatiently patient; he researches the hell out of events and people; he tells the truth, including to people he is exposing; he keeps his word when he promises secrecy and cover to sourc ...more
Paul
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible book by an indefatigable researcher/interviewer/writer. I had previously read Hersh's Dark Side of Camelot, which was depressing but demythologized Jack and Bobby Kennedy, when by far the most books about them had been hagiographies.

This book is a play-by-play story of Hersh's career, with some revelations about presidential misuse of power going all the way back to Eisenhower. Hersh has been so successful as a writer, first for the NY Times and later for The New Yorker. On
...more
Margaret
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting read and walk down memory lane. Considering the current political climate, there were times the book lessened my pessimism by reminding me of some of the horrors which our nation somehow managed to survive—-
And yet also at times deepened my pessimism as I was reminded that we American citizens seem to simply move on without seriously taking stock of our country’s most shameful episodes.
Will we ever “move on” from—much less take stock of —these trump years. Or will we in future look
...more
Zebulynn Hanson
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This guy is an American hero. He really tells it like it is. Reporters like this make the world a better place.
James
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crusading journalist consistently proven right

Hersh’s book is an inspiring account of defying conventional wisdom and political pressure to uncover truth no matter how hidden it is.
Robert
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seymour Hersh's reporting on foreign policy, national security and intelligence affairs has been required reading for decades. A described lone wolf, Hersh has had numerous relationships with major news organizations, notably the New York Times and the New Yorker, but his real strength has been the tenacious and patient network of sources he's developed and kept active long after one major story has passed...helping lead him to the next one.

Hersh's memoir, Reporter, opens with his very basic Chi
...more
Dick Reynolds
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One thing clear about this book is that writing a newspaper story is easy. Yes, it’s easy, but only if you have all the information you need to write it. And that’s the rub as Hersh shows in his memoir. On so many of his memorable stories such as the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam, the Watergate scandal, and the various missteps of the CIA, the difficulty was gathering all the facts in spite of our own military and government trying to hide these stories from seeing the light of day. There’s a lot ...more
John Behle
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Deftly narrated by Arthur Morey, the CD audiobook edition entertained and interested me for a week of July 2020. Solid three star-I liked it. It's just long enough.

Hersh is a tough bulldog reporter. Proud and fearless, his writing is purposeful. He sharpens the arrowhead on each sentence and lets fly. He has lots of axes to grind.

Hersh, the quintessential iconoclast, pulls back the curtain on the major news events of the past 60 years. There is personal reflection as well. Some of my favorite pa
...more
Linda
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: Edelweiss
Seymour Hersh is an honored investigative reporter that I've long admired. I enjoyed listening to his life story. Reminiscing about the past presidential administrations and the people who advised those presidents. He developed meaningful relationships and was known as a straight shooter.
One caveat, the narrator mispronounced several names.
Carol Storm
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read memoir by the legendary reporter. Worth reading in its entirety but the section on William Calley is absolutely outstanding. And don't miss his side-splitting account of the failing NY TIMES dismissing him as "loud, insistent, and charmless." I think they meant to say "pushy!"
Kristina
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Seymour Hersh is probably not everyone's favorite colleague, but he's a damn fine investigative journalist.
In our current era where even bloggers fancy themselves as serious journalist, it was fascinating to read about Hersh's rise in the ranks of journalism from cub reporter to breaking stories nobody wanted to publish at first---particularly his Pulitzer prize winning piece regarding the My Lai massacre which was rejected repeatedly. Anyone fascinated with mid-to late twentieth-century histor
...more
Lysergius
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Ah to have been a reporter for the NYT. That is something. Hersh scooped My Lai, Watergate, the CIA's domestic spying programme and a host of other stories until the death of journalism in the time of Trump. This is a great read told with a certain amount of bragging and large doses of modesty. The search for the truth can be all consuming and it is a testament to Hersh's balance that he kept it all together.
Bettie
Jun 06, 2018 marked it as wish-list


Reporter by Seymour Hersh review – memoir of a giant of journalism.The reporter who exposed the My Lai massacre and the CIA’s illegal domestic spying in the 1970s continues to be a rebel outsider
...more
Denise
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Spanning over five decades and earning numerous prestigious awards, Seymour Hersh's career in investigative journalism is an impressive achievement. Unsurprisingly, this memoir, looking back on its entirety to date, makes for a fascinating read.
Clif
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics, biography
It's undeniable that those who possess wealth and power will defend that wealth and power and too often at the expense of truth. It's also undeniable that there is a human tendency to think of oneself in a positive light that can have little or nothing to do with reality.

The more wealth and power one has, the probability increases that there will be little connection with those less fortunate even as one's power over them increases. Combine this with the praise and submission of these with whom
...more
Socraticgadfly
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very good book, primarily about how Sy did his work, then about some of the specific projects, such as My Lai, Watergate, the CIA domestic spying and on to Abu Ghraib.

As part of this, Hersh reveals how he landed at the NYT, why he moved on, how he landed for his second and main stint at the New Yorker, why he left (he thought Remnick writing a bio of Obama was an ethical bright line), and bits of how he landed at the London Review of Books and then moved past it to Die Welt. With LRB, it wasn'
...more
Rene Saller
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard not to read this book as an elegy for investigative journalism. Highly recommended, especially if you're too young to remember the days when ensuring access and sucking up to those in power were considered unprincipled. The kind of journalism that Sy Hersh practices is going to be extinct soon, if it isn't already. I wonder how many My Lai-style massacres have gone ignored because no one has the budget or the dogged bravery to keep rooting out the lies and propaganda.

By the way, if yo
...more
John
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of Seymour Hersh’s memoir is simply 'Reporter'. It’s what he did and what he does: dig out and report important facts that need to be seen in the daylight, no matter how much the CIA, a US vice-president or secretary of state, or a mafia boss, may want to keep them hidden. Hersh, as the editor of the New Yorker says on the book’s cover, is ‘quite simply the greatest investigative journalist of his era’.

It was Hersh who uncovered the facts of the My Lai massacre that occurred in Vietna
...more
Muhammad Ahmad
This book is tragic more than anything else. The last chapter of the book ends with such a glaring lie that it casts a shadow of doubt over everything that Hersh said before. Hersh falsely claims that at a press conference General Mattis claimed that he didn't have evidence that Bashar al Assad was responsible for the April 2017 chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun. If true, this would support Hersh's theory about the incident. Except, Mattis said no such thing. Hersh is reproducing a claim by a co ...more
Joseph J.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students of journalism and 20th cemtury U.S. history
A memoir of a time of relentless and dogged reporting. And indeed toward the final pages Seymour Hersh is critical of out 24 hour cable news cycle and its effect on the reporters trade. Hersh paid his dues early on in the community newspaper arena, but eventually made it to Washington past the mid-20th century and into the questioning and disruptive times of Vietnam and Watergate. For me the heart of the book is his relentless pursuit of the My Lai massacre story; the event and his relentless pu ...more
David Stewart
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
You don't read this book for the prose, or the humility. When it's good -- and long stretches of it are quite compelling after a slow start -- it tells stories about abuse of power and how they were unearthed. Sy Hersh broke a LOT of huge stories in his career, starting with My Lai, an appalling episode that required great resourcefulness and pure grit to unearth. It's the highlight of the book.
And he's still keeping some secrets about how he did all of it. One of the most interesting things h
...more
Jun Chen
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
I haven't finished the book. I couldn't bring myself to finish this supposedly amazing, thought-provoking, worldview-changing memoir. Perhaps I was too unfamiliar with the historical context, perhaps I didn't understand the significance of the names that Hersh dropped. Those are meaningful accounts, I am sure, but I wasn't drawn to his narrative of how he had changed the factual reporting during the Vietnam war, and how he was working for McCarthy. I couldn't see how relevant those experiences a ...more
Adrian
Nov 17, 2018 added it
US reporter of near legendary repute details his career in revealing truth to power in stories big and small. But mostly big. Of note is the story of his chasing down William Calley which gives one a good idea of the work and persistence needed in investigative reporting. Not for the faint of heart. Very interesting also is the ingrained conservatism of most news organizations and the top people in them which Hersh has run up against time and again, perhaps most surprisingly in 1970 when as a Pu ...more
Csparrenberger
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was up and down for me depending on the subject being discussed. Reading between the lines, it seems the author spent a lot of time being unemployed. I lost count of how many different employers he had over his career if you read this book, read pages 202-203 first. I had never seen this topic discussed and was shocked.
Roger
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography, politics
Somewhere between annoying and disappointing.

Maybe it's because I expected so much better from someone who, as the titular successor to the remarkable Izzy Stone, broke so many seminal stories over a truly remarkable career.

Far too much time spent on grudge-settling, blatant self-aggrandizement and lame "humor" parading as false modesty.

While this tome shouldn't detract from the incredible work Sy did over the decades, you're better off reading the actual reporting than this rambling meander.
Brent
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book had some interesting anecdotes about journalism and about several transformative world events.
However, Mr. Hersh's obnoxious arrogance weighed heavily on the book.
There's no arguing that Hersh is one of the best investigative reporters, perhaps of all time. But if he could've done a deep dive into how to remove his head from his own ass, it would have gone a long way toward making this book enjoyable.
Elizabeth
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With all this talk of fake news, Hersh's memoir was a breath of fine air.
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Seymour (Sy) Myron Hersh is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine on military and security matters. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and is a "five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award."

He first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the
...more

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