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5.0 out of 5 stars Great SPORTS Book, 12 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal (Kindle Edition)
Great book. Note: As of June 2014, The reviews linked from to the kindle edition are for another of his books, The Powers That Be, which is about the American press. See the paperback listing of The Amateurs for the correct reviews of The Amateurs.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars massive, sprawling, interesting, and too much too, 6 May 2011
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Powers That be (Paperback)
I read and loved this book for the stories and details it gives on the American press over the period of its glory, to about 1980. At that time, in the wake of My Lai, Watergate, and the Pentagon Papers, the press had revealed to Americans how much we really resembled other powerful countries and the depths to which some of our politicians fell. Halberstam makes the people who contributed to this collective glory come alive, from Kay Graham at the Washington Post and Buff at the Los Angeles Times to Seymour Hersh and William S. Paley, founder of CBS. He tells the stories with his ususal high and humanistic style, in an unmistakable moral tone (at one point he laments that the Munsters were created in place of a news program). He also reviews the presidency and politics from about Eisenhower to Nixon in fascinating detail, with plenty of editorialising, such as Nixon's snubs of his original patrons at the LA Times.

It is truly great reading, but in the end there is a bit too much of it. In retrospect, it also appears dated, and perhaps places a bit too much faith in the press. For those like myself who increasingly feel that the press is ridiculously focused on personal foibles instead of issues and failed to do its duty during the Clinton scandals - preferring to keep a trivial story alive rather than point out that it has all, like, happened before - they will find little support and that Halberstam had any inkling of when things might go too far. The press also failed miserably to investigate the ridiculous claims of George W Bush until it was far too late to stop the Iraq War.

Nonetheless, no one has done a better job at telling the story of the press, in print and TV, than Halberstam. He also succeeds in putting a great deal of issues in proper perspective, such as the rich careers of Walter Lippman, Teddy White, and Walter Cronkite.
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