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In Search of History

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  463 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Theodore White's autobiography is the story of a man who literally covered the world, who understood that world and wrote about it brilliantly. This is a marvelous rags-to-riches autobiography, thoughtful, dramatic and funny, filled with perceptive details about events and personalities. In his parade of people and events, we meet Douglas MacArthur, both as outcast and con ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 720 pages
Published April 9th 1983 by Warner Books, Inc. (first published 1978)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Lobstergirl
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The most astonishing sentence of Theodore White's memoir is: "But Chou En-lai was, along with Joseph Stilwell and John F. Kennedy, one of the three great men I met in whose presence I had near total suspension of disbelief or questioning judgment." Given that White was a journalist who then turned his reporting into books of history, this seems like an admission on the order of a judge confessing that he meticulously listened to the evidence in all his cases except those of accused murderers Bob
...more
Checkman
An interesting read. Theodore White covers the years from his childhood until 1963. During those years he attended Harvard (scholarship - not wealth), was the senior correspondent for Time magazine in China during WWII, worked as a foreign correspondent in Europe (48-53) and covered politics in the Unites States. The man saw much and met many well known personages. While other reviewers have remarked on White's political stance (he was a classic FDR New Deal Liberal) it doesn't (and shouldn't) t ...more
Gloria
Mar 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
It will probably take me another week or two to finish this book; it is a very slow read for me, rich in detail that I don't want to skim over. White was a journalist in the best sense of the word and a specialist in both American politics (he wrote The Making of the President four times covering elections in 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972) and Asia. In Search of History is autobiographical and is fascinating.His contact with world leaders, his approach to history in the making, and then his later lo ...more
Louis
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Theodore H. White is mainly remembered today for his "Making of the President" books about elections from 1960 to 1980, as well as for being a talking head for NBC's election night coverage during many of those years. It would be simple to dismiss him as another mainstream journalist who got too close to the powerful and ultimately glorified them. This book gives a welcome introduction to the real Teddy White, a man who came from a poor Boston childhood to a Harvard education. This was his ticke ...more
Drusha
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This book is the most interesting history book I've ever read. It provides an overview of U.S. history covering 1930-1976. It covers 1) China during WWII, 2) the administration of the Marshall Plan in Europe, 3) the McCarthy era & the Eisenhower presidency, 4) the 1960 Presidential election & John Kennedy, 5) personal anecdotes of author's interaction with the Kennedy family right after his assassination, and 6) the post-Kennedy years.

In Search of History is a fascinating personal overview of ev
...more
Cheryl
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
First 1/2 was great
Bill Turner
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was very interesting the last two chapters held your attention. The Fifties was just plain dull.
Cassandra
I did not actually finish reading this ...
Marshall
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is at once a product of its time, and prophetic at the same time. Theodore White witnessed some of the great events of the 20th century, the revolution in China, World War II, the resurgence of Europe after World War II, the Civil Rights era and finally the beginning and end of Camelot (a phrase he coined in Life Magazine). This work is an attempt to make sense of these events.

White's memoirs written from the vantage point of the late 70s after he had completed his classic Making of t
...more
Jonathan
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
"In Search of History" by Theodore White was interesting but not a keeper. He was the "Time" reporter in China during WWII and covers areas that I know little about - I learned about the importance of the US role in China for the land invasion of Japan, how the US was key to the success of Chiang Kai-Shek, the rise and beliefs of Mao, the feud between Gens. Stillwell and Chenault, and how Henry Luce did not want to hear any bad news about Chiang Kai-Shek and thus ignored the rise of Mao. The beg ...more
Mark
White's "In Search of History" is the fun rumination of a 50 something guy that has seen and been a part of a lot of amazing stuff. Theodore White was a reporter for TIME magazine during World War II in China and met such figures as General Stilwell, Mao ZeDong, and Chang Kai-Shek. White was on the ground level of television evening news when it started in earnest in the 1950s and coined the phrase "Camelot" to describe the Kennedy years after JFK was assassinated in 1963. White is one of my fav ...more
Alfred
Nov 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Alfred by: schemathings@gmail.com
White has a great perspective on history - he was on the frontlines in Asia in the WW2, japanese occupation of china, rise of Mao era, moved to Europe after the war and saw the unrolling of the Marshall plan, moved to the US and got interested in presidential races, where he covered elections from JFK to Carter.

He writes about those periods in this book with the benefit of hindsight, and points out where his perceptions of events unfolding were improperly informed in the longer historical contex
...more
John
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mexico, own, bio, nonfiction
This book gave me a better understanding of how the Marshall plan worked and the goings on in Europe just after the war. The rest of it, I have read many other books on the covering the same stuff as White did here. It is so interesting that you can read five different books mentioning someone like LUCE and get five different pictures of the person, none alike. This book may have deserved four stars but i was so tired of reading it by the time i finished it. It was a rehashing of what i have rea ...more
Paul Roy
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent history book written almost as it happened. While you can tell what side of the political fence White is on, it gives an excellent insight into politics. I also found it interesting to compare what White wrote in 1978 and some of his predictions, and compare them to what actually has happened. While he came close on some, on others he was off.

This book is out of print so you will probably need to find a used copy of it somewhere, I found mine in a little antique store, A goo
...more
Gloria
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read this for my book club. The older members (60+) loved it. I think it is more meaningful to people who lived through much of the time documented by White. They could bring a certain perspective to the narrative that made it come alive. They enjoyed getting the "inside scoop" on many of the historical figures they had known of from a distance. For me, it was simply a history. White, is a masterful writer and storyteller though. ...more
Andrés
Oct 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good memoir of a reporter's life stretching from 1938 China to 1950 Europe to 1963 America. At times he contradicts himself and his thoughts sometimes appear incomplete and unedited, but he effectively evokes the vitality of events and personalities past. I now see better the importance of JFK, the unintended flaws of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, and the sadness that marks modern-day China. He successfully makes history flesh. ...more
Rich Martin
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best historical books I've ever read -- and by a journalist who was there when it all happened. It's about the storied career of Theodore H. White, who was famous for covering presidential campaigns. But the best part of this is when he was in China during and right after World War II. He concluded (rightly) that Chiang was an incompetent warlord, and he broke with his boss, TIME's own emperor, Henry Luce. ...more
Martha Johnson
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book after I was in college and I felt so complicated about how he had witnessed such great and important events and I was missing life, somehow. That turned out not to be true but it was a strong sense in me that the world was changing around us. Revolutionary times. For all of us.
Mary
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I think of good writers, gifted storytellers and excellent teachers three names always come to mind. David Halberstam, Tom Friedman and Theodore White. In Search of History included all of Mr. White's talents. ...more
David
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good and even moving. A memoir and reflections on 40 years of journalism and his life before his career. VERY thoughtful and extremely insightful on the development of post-war (WW II) America. I intend to read the follow up he wrote about five years later.
Michael Harris
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy history and biographies and this combines both. A good read about China before WWII and up to the late 70's as well as an enjoyable story of Ted White. Picked this up at the Friends of the HHI library. ...more
Douglas Graney
Aug 25, 2008 rated it liked it
No two ways about it. He was a great writer. From Chairman Mao to Jackie Kennedy, it's all here. ...more
Hank
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm only about one-third through the great journalist's memoir, but his stories about China in the 1930s, and the personalities he met during those years and during World War II, are captivating. ...more
Mjv
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read ...more
John
Dec 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Rated: C
Sandra D
Sep 24, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I'm interested in American political history so I wanted to like this one, but Teddy bored me. I got about halfway through and gave up. ...more
John
Feb 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
history
Kaye Severns
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book took me a long time to read because it is non-fiction. However, I enjoyed it very much, especially his WWII stories at the beginning of the book.
Jim Cheng
An accessible memoir from a true witness to history. Fascinating.
Rhonda
Jul 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: auto-bio
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Theodore Harold White was an American political journalist, historian, and novelist, best known for his accounts of the 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972 presidential elections.
White became one of Time magazine's first foreign correspondents, serving in East Asia and later as a European correspondent. He is best known for his accounts of two presidential elections, The Making of the President, 1960 (1961
...more

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