Cover image for A reporter's life
A reporter's life
Cronkite, Walter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Random House in association with A. Knopf, 1996.
Physical Description:
ix, 609 pages (large print), 16 pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4874.C84 A3 1996B Adult Large Print Large Print
PN4874.C84 A3 1996B Adult Large Print - Floating collection Floating Collection - Large Print
PN4874.C84 A3 1996B Adult Non-Fiction Large Print

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Make it easy on yourself, read Walter Cronkite's A Reporter's Life in Large Print * All Random House Large Print Editions are published in a 16-point typeface He has been called the most trusted man in America.  His 60-year journalistic career has spanned the Great Depression, several wars, and the extraordinary changes that have engulfed our nation over the last two-thirds of the 20th century. When Walter Cronkite advised his television audience in 1968 that the war in Vietnam could not be won, President Lyndon B. Johnson said: "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." Here is Cronkite's remarkable autobiography: his growing up in Kansas City and Houston; his service as a war correspondent for United Press; his plunge into television when it was still an infant industry; his rise to anchorman of The CBS Evening News and its eventual dominance of the airwaves.  Here is Cronkite covering space shots, political conventions, a coronation, the assassinations of the Kennedys and King.  Here are Cronkite's portraits of presidents, his behind-the-scenes tales of politics and broadcasting, his vigorous views on the future of television and the presentation of news.

Author Notes

Walter Cronkite was born in St. Louis, Missouri on November 4, 1916. As a teenager, he got a job with The Houston Post as a copy boy and cub reporter. In college, he worked part-time for the Houston Press, a paper he joined full-time after leaving the University of Texas in 1935. From 1940 to 1949, he reported for the United Press wire service. One of the first journalists accredited to cover World War II, Cronkite accompanied Allied forces into North Africa, reported on the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. At the end of the war, he became UP's bureau chief in Moscow and then its chief correspondent at the Nuremburg war crimes trials.

After returning to the United States in 1948, he covered Washington, D.C., for a group of radio stations before joining CBS, where he remained for the rest of his career, first working on various news programs and then, in 1962, becoming anchor of the CBS Evening News. Over the years, Cronkite covered such events as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the moon landing of Apollo II (staying on the air 24 hours to do so), the Vietnam War, and the Watergate scandal. He twice visited Vietnam during the war, and, after the Tet offensive in 1968, candidly questioned the rationale for American involvement and the U.S. military's prospects for victory. He won numerous awards including several Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award in 1962, the William A. White Journalism Award in 1969, the George Polk Award in 1971, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981.

After his retirement in 1981, Cronkite continued to work on special projects for CBS and wrote his autobiography A Reporter's Life in 1996. He died from was complications of dementia on July 17, 2009 at the age of 92.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

In the 15 years since Cronkite retired from The CBS Evening News anchor desk, the print and electronic media have experienced unimaginable changes. Readers with fond memories of Uncle Walter's days at the helm will not be surprised that he has strong opinions about these changes, and he delivers them firmly but gracefully in the course of these reminiscences. Few '90s broadcasters have the time to develop a "voice" that listeners can recognize and identify within a paragraph or two: Cronkite was one of the last TV newspeople with both the editorial control and the journalistic skill to establish an ever-so-familiar style. Longtime fans will no doubt "hear" Cronkite telling them--in trademark Cronkite style, like a slightly formal conversation--about his midwestern childhood, marriage, and family and dozens of stories he's covered over a long, distinguished career. Cronkite's seen plenty in his nearly 80 years: from semirural Missouri and Kansas to Houston as a cub reporter, then to Europe during World War II and Moscow after the war, to various hotspots of the world as well as the halls of political and media power in Washington and New York. A Reporter's Life is generous (though never gossipy) with the details. A Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; expect requests. --Mary Carroll

Publisher's Weekly Review

Written with wry, self-deprecating humor, Cronkite's memoir gives us the veteran TV newscaster at his most relaxed and ingratiating as he recounts dozens of his scoops: for example, tracking down and interviewing Takeo Yoshikawa, the Japanese spy who was strategic to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Daniel Ellsberg when he was in hiding after stealing the Pentagon's secret Vietnam War plans (the Pentagon Papers). Tough-minded, Missouri-born Cronkite, who apprenticed on Houston papers, has been eyewitness to, or participant in, many of the century's momentous events. As United Press war correspondent, he covered D-Day, the Allied air war and the Nuremberg trial. He joined CBS as a Korean War correspondent, and as CBS Evening News anchor for almost two decades (he retired in 1981, pushed out, he says, by a new management more interested in infotainment than substance), he reported on the civil rights movement, NASA's first moon walk, the John Kennedy assassination, freedom struggles in South Africa. Peppered with personal encounters with presidents from FDR to Nixon, plus close-ups of Nazi Hermann Göring, Douglas MacArthur, Castro, Begin and many others, Cronkite's crisp narrative charts the metamorphosis of network television into the defining medium of American consciousness. He also lets loose brickbats on the contemporary scene, bemoaning the "ridiculously small" volume of television news and the superficial quality of political coverage ("The debates are a part of the unconscionable fraud that our political campaigns have become, and it is a wonder that the networks continue to cooperate in their presentation"). Photos not seen by PW. BOMC main selection. Available on cassette and CD from Random House Audio. (Dec.) FYI: On November 4, the date this review is appearing, Cronkite celebrates his 80th birthday. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

People who enjoyed watching Cronkite deliver the news on CBS television for many years are going to enjoy this good-natured memoir. In fact, this book will appeal to anyone who is interested in an inside view of television news operations and in stories of contacts with the movers and shakers of the world. The book is chock-full of lively stories of Cronkite's early years in newspapering and his move to radio and, quickly, to television during the Korean war. Cronkite covered many of the most important events of the past‘political conventions, the Vietnam War, the moon landing, the assassination of President Kennedy. His account of his personal life, particularly his experiences driving race cars and his switch to sailing as a more family-oriented sport, will amuse readers. Cronkite ends his book with some sobering words about the effects of the infotainment that infects much television news. Television's twisted influence on our political process so worries him that he asserts, "The major problem is simply that television news is an inadequate substitute for a good newspaper." Recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/96; see interview with Cronkite, p. 106.]‘Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Ct. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

YA‘A memoir by America's foremost TV journalist. He was not a "star" anchor; rather, his workday world included reporting from the trenches of World War II and Vietnam, covering the civil rights movement, the Apollo Space Program, political conventions, and chats with presidents. Since Cronkite experienced events firsthand for the rest of the country, Americans identified with him and trusted his assessment of them. His personal accounts of the newsworthy happenings of recent decades may intrigue students of history, but the book will hold the most appeal for those interested in journalism and the media.‘Susan Abrams, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.