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

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  12 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)
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Julia
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
Pooch
"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,
...more
Bridget
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
Nancy
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.
Gina Kilgour
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.
Msimon6986
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
...more
T.R. Heinan
Refreshingly candid look at the life of a television pioneer.
Beth
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.
Crystal
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?

Mandy
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
Darleen
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.
Julie
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.
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