Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News'” as Want to Read:
On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News'
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On Her Trail: My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News'

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  120 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Before Barbara Walters, before Katie Couric, there was Nancy Dickerson. The first female member of the Washington TV news corps, Nancy was the only woman covering many of the most iconic events of the sixties. She was the first reporter to speak to President Kennedy after his inauguration and she was on the Mall with Martin Luther King Jr. during the march on Washington; s ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 23rd 2006 by Simon Schuster (first published October 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On Her Trail, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On Her Trail

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure this book was hard to write and that made it a little hard to read. As some reviewers have noted, Dickerson is writing about his mother and that makes him to close to the subject to be totally objective. However, he knows that and objectivity isn't a goal. Instead, we see his understanding of his mother as a human being develop throughout the book, probably much like it did within him toward the end of her life and after her death. Because of my own conflicted feelings about my mother ( ...more
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The first time I ever heard my mother sound nervous, she'd been dead for two years." --from On Her Trail: my mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV news' first woman star by John Dickerson

While I expected this book to be interesting, I was happily enticed by the delicious first sentence. My expectations climbed as the words teased me to speed my reading. Apart from the bio of his famous mother, John Dickerson writes with great good humor and intoxicating detail.

If you are at all interested in biography,
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always read John Dickerson's columns on Slate, so thought I would check out this book. Really interesting from many vantage points - it's the story of a man who follows in his mother's footsteps to become a White House correspondent, the story of a woman struggling to reconcile career and family, the story of an era when a reporter could throw lavish parties for her sources and have them hashing out key policies until daybreak. Nancy Dickerson went on a few dates with JFK before he married, was ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A son's investigation of his Mother's career and life. John Dickerson always appears to be so suave and smooth on TV, but it wasn't always so, and this book reveals as much about him as it does about his famous mother. They didn't always have a great relationship and he admits he actually learned to know her through reading material for this biography. He found there was a lot more going on than he realized. As a ground-breaking female reporter, she couldn't win no matter what she did. She was c ...more
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I vividly remember Nancy Dickerson's afternoon newscasts from my childhood. Her son is a good writer and conveyed all the complexity of her life without much sentimentality. At the same time, the parties she threw for access to information and high ranking elected officials were eye opening. She suffered considerable discrimination trying to work in her career. He's trying to understand his mother and this book made me think he was able to do so.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed learning about trial-blazer Nancy Dickerson. Can't think of a better biographer than her son John Dickerson; he has the inside scoop on her personality and her profession. This book also has a 'rest of the story' quality to it--you see familiar historical figures from a new perspective. Any 20th c history buff will really enjoy these stories, such as that possibly history-making late-night call from President Nixon.
Gina Kilgour
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It was thorough without being boring and gave a behind-the-scenes view of Washington reporting from the 60's through the 80's. John very skillfully wrote from a child's point of view and an adult's.
T.R. Heinan
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Refreshingly candid look at the life of a television pioneer.
Marion Vermazen
I would stay three and a half stars. It is an interesting book. The discrimination and challenges she had to deal with are eye opening.
Julie Reed
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
What I loved the most about this book...

1. I enjoy John Dickerson's writing style and humor and so the narrative was a bit like listening to him tell the story of his mother's life.

2. Getting to see history through Nancy's life, her struggles and her success alongside presidents and other leaders was insightful.

3. I liked his approach of presenting Nancy's good, bad, ugly but in a loving way - I appreciated how his perspective changed and grew. It made me think about how my kids see my now and
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
It is so easy to think that women have made almost no progress in the last 40 years. Reading John Dickerson's biography of his mother, Nancy Dickerson, and her determined breakthrough as a woman in TV journalism, was, for me, a revelation. Women have come a very long way since the mid-1960s, and pioneers like Nancy Dickerson broke the ice. But the biography is about more than her career; it is the memoir of a son who came to appreciate his mother and her humanity. It is also the story of how pol ...more
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A son lovingly looks at the life of his mother, a pioneering woman television journalist; the book is part "mommy dearest" due to the fraught relationship between mother and son while he was growing up, and part coming to terms with his the life of his mother, who sought to have it all in an era when women either had a career or stayed home to care for a household and raise children. The book chronicles the author's journey to understanding his mother and admiring her accomplishments as well as ...more
Mark Simon
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was intrigued by the subject, a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a TV news pioneer with whom I was unfamiliar. I found the professional look more interesting than than personal look (and there's a lot on her personal life and her relationship with her son, the author, who is the current (very good) host of Face the Nation). She had an amazing job covering the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon White Houses and it was interesting to learn about it.

At just over 300 pages, it's a reasonable read, th
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great trivia about LBJ and JFK (the latter complained his promiscuity was only to cure headaches that would otherwise ensue if he didn't get laid), and definitely worthwhile to know more about the gender dynamics in that era's broadcasts, but the writing itself leaves a lot to be desired. John Dickerson is best in twitter, but I think this book also is worse for him trying to tackle a topic that he is both too close and too far away from, making his insights mostly tepid, and really not all that ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read and a glimpse into how women really struggled in the news business. Still do. Written by John Dickerson about his remarkable, driven, flawed mother, Nancy Dickerson. Poignant, funny, sad. She had access to President Lyndon B. Johnson like no other reporter. Can you imagine any reporter being allowed to conduct an interview in a president's bedroom?

This book really brought me back to when I was a kid and saw Nancy Dickerson reporting news mid-morning. I was entranced by her broach. This telling of her life by her son reveals the stresses and tensions any famous career woman of the 60s endured. Some of the bitterness he naturally feels still comes through in the pages here, which I didn't really need to read.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Kindle book I've read past the first few pages & I devoured it. Very accessible & engaging book about a towering figure in news for us boomer women by her son, in the same business in a new time. He gets to know her and shares his journey with us.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book about the challenges that token women face in "getting to the top" - I plan to recommend it in my freshman seminar class on Gender and Leadership.
rated it really liked it
Mar 21, 2017
Brandon F
rated it it was amazing
Oct 27, 2015
Brad Leonhardt
rated it it was amazing
Dec 30, 2016
rated it liked it
Feb 16, 2013
rated it it was ok
Aug 14, 2007
Elizabeth Koenig
rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2015
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2016
rated it really liked it
Apr 09, 2012
rated it really liked it
Jun 07, 2015
rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2008
Jennifer Pino
rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD: Beyond Piles, Palms,  Post-its
  • Lies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics
  • Pirate vs. Pirate: The Terrific Tale of a Big, Blustery Maritime Match
  • Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs
  • Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority
  • Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights
  • The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day
  • Sleepless Nights
  • The Feminization of American Culture
  • The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths That Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism
  • The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay
  • Tainted Love (Nannies, #4)
  • The Needs of the Dying: A Guide for Bringing Hope, Comfort, and Love to Life’s Final Chapter
  • Southern Daughter: The Life of Margaret Mitchell and the Making of Gone With the Wind
  • Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility
  • The Librarian's Book of Quotes
  • Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives
  • Cul de Sac: This Exit
John Dickerson is Moderator of Face the Nation and Political Director of CBS News and a columnist for Slate magazine. Dickerson has been a reporter in Washington for almost 20 years covering the White House, Congress and political campaigns. Dickerson is a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest as well as the host of "Whistlestop," a podcast of campaign history.
More about John Dickerson...