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Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee Hardcover – 15 Jul 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 495 pages
  • Publisher: Fodor's Travel Publications Inc.,U.S. (15 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400068479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400068470
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.6 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"The absolute best nonfiction book of the year . . . a work of journalistic art . . . history straight and true . . . should be required reading at the Columbia School of Journalism."--"Chicago Tribune" "A fairly complete and rare portrait of this last of the lion-king newspaper editors . . . deftly curates previously published material, boring in on the newly revealed and revealing, ultimately creating the best Bradlee biography we're likely to get."--"The New York Times Book Review" "Surprising and compulsively readable . . . Himmelman's chapters on Watergate are especially masterful, untangling that web in a fresh and comprehensible way."--Minneapolis "Star Tribune" "A sparkling, revealing, definitely controversial, and very readable book . . . highly amusing, particularly for any connoisseur of juicy modern American politics."--"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" "The bold brilliance of Jeff Himmelman's "Yours in Truth" comes through because it is not simply a biography of a quixotic figure who changed the timbre of American newspapers. Rather, it is also a riveting history lesson with fastidiously researched facts intertwined with first-person observations."--Charleston "Post and Courier" "Embedded in "Yours in Truth" there are fundamental insights about journalism and the role of a dynamic press."--"The Atlantic" "The biographer either sells his soul for the cozy dinners or bails for the truth. Himmelman chose the latter."--The Huffington Post "Riveting new life of one of America's greatest editors."--The Daily Beast

About the Author

Jeff Himmelman has worked on two national bestsellers, Bob Woodward's "Maestro" and Tim Russert's "Big Russ & Me, " and was the co-author of "A Different Life" with Quinn Bradlee. He has written for "The Washington Post "and" The New York Times Magazine;" his work with Woodward and a team of other reporters helped "The Post" secure the national reporting Pulitzer Prize for its post-9/11 coverage. He is also a professional musician who writes, records, and performs under the name Down Dexter. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure to meet the author Jeff Himmelman at a book fair in Washington DC and could then praise him for his excellent book. The author could be pretty tough on its object - that Ben Bradlee - as Bob Woodward reacted against. But Jeff H did not fail its mission. well done
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.1 out of 5 stars 38 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing - and not just for journalism junkies... 8 May 2012
By KarynFitzpatrick - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is SUCH a wonderful book. I'm a journalism instructor/adviser, and I was lucky enough to be given an early copy by a friend in the press. I had been intrigued by some of the press coverage and was eager to see what the book had to say vs. the Washington press machine. Boy was I in for a treat. I can't think of the last time that I read a non-fiction book in basically one sitting. The content is incredible - just the primary material that Himmelman has found stands on its own. But what makes it so special is Himmelman's unique style. He manages to be at once totally historically and journalistically rigorous, and at the same time refreshingly casual and approachable as a narrator. He is unquestionably a character in the book - always a tough thing to pull off - but he finds the right balance between the moments of being a highly present narrator and moments of being a more removed guide through the primary materials.

I approached the book expecting to find the topic relevant given my professional life, but I really had no idea how totally enthralling the material would be. Himmelman took me on a complete journey through history, through emotions, and, most importantly, through Ben Bradlee's life. I am now dreaming about Bradlee's life and legacy, and I've only just begun to internalize the many lessons he teaches us about how to live life, how to lead, and how to stand up to power (even once you become part of the establishment). I know that I learned so very much, but it was so breezy along the way! I've never had such a pleasant experience reading a non-fiction biography.

I highly recommend this book, not just to journalism junkies like me, but to anyone looking for an enjoyable, enlightening read. But be prepared that once you start reading, you won't want to put it down. Kudos to Himmelman for this beautiful, personal portrait, as the subtitle very accurately advertises.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Warts and all 15 Jun. 2012
By Georgia L. Mackowiak - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I wanted to find out more about the life and career of Ben Bradlee. I had never even heard of him prior to reading his book "With Kennedy," but I found his and his wife's friendship with JFK and Jackie Kennedy to be fascinating. I wanted to read more about this and to learn more about the death of Bradlee's sister-in-law, Mary Meyer. "Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee" provided all that information and more. The work is well-written, painstakingly and exhaustively researched and while it is clear that the author thinks very highly of Bradlee, he does not avoid discussion of negative incidents in Bradlee's life. Since Bradlee and The Washington Post are inseparable, the book contains a great deal of extremely interesting information about the Post, about Phil and Katharine Graham and other journalists and about the storied history of the competition between the Post and the New York Times. I highly recommend this book, which I found to be deeply engrossing and highly readable.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read 30 Jun. 2014
By EM in NC - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've wanted to know more about Ben Bradlee's story since reading All the President's Men, though I knew there was much, much more to his professional life than simply being chief honcho at the Washington Post during the Watergate era. This book is well done and, at the same time, gave me an interesting, behind-the-curtain view of what it may be like to write someone's biography.

Himmelman's writing is polished and intelligent. I was drawn in as much by his authorial voice - by turns, intimate, straightforward, defensive, and funny - as I was by his narrative about Bradlee's life. And what a life it has been! Himmelman has excavated some fascinating nuggets about Bradlee and presents them beautifully. Only a couple of times did I find my attention wandering during yet another section about how cool & charming Bradlee is.

The section in Yours in Truth that caused such a stir revolves around Himmelman's presentation of two very interesting disclosures about Bradlee and his ace reporters, Woodward and Bernstein. The first revelation centers on Himmelman's discovery of proof that Woodward and Bernstein lied when they claimed that they never used a Watergate grand juror as a source in their Watergate reporting (the female juror is referred to as "Z"). Himmelman played sleuth, and it's nifty to read how he arrived at this revelation.

To my mind, the second revelation is less startling and perhaps less important, unless you're Bob Woodward: it involves Bradlee's admission to another biographer/interviewer in the early 1990s that he, Bradlee, had some wisps of doubt - "residual" unease - about minor details in Woodward's account in All the President's Men of his interactions with Deep Throat (spy-craft touches like Woodward's placing of a red flag in a potted plant outside his apartment when he wanted a meeting with Deep Throat AND Deep Throat's setting of a meeting time by drawing a clock on an inside page of Woodward's the New York Times).

To repeat, these details struck me as fairly minor in the grand scheme of Watergate and the WashPo's coverage of it. Bradlee has never, ever, given any indication that he questioned the veracity of Woodward's general reporting. But Himmelman has a sharp eye and plumbs Bradlee's quote about the "residual" unease to yield a heretofore unacknowledged truth about Bradlee.

Sometimes it's the tiny details - the stray comment, the white lie or lingering doubt, the seemingly insignificant action that may not line up neatly with the general narrative arc of someone's life - that say something important about an individual. In writing a biography of Bradlee, Himmelman draws our attention to the fact that when you get right down to it, human personality and individual experience are pretty murky regions.

As some readers may already know, Himmelman's decision to include these and a few other tidbits effectively torpedoed his relationships with Woodward as well as Bradlee and Sally Quinn. I can understand why they were infuriated. But I have to say that as a reader, I'm grateful for Himmelman's instinct toward fuller, rather than lesser, disclosure.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GOOGLE EARTH VIEW OF THE POST 5 Jun. 2012
By M. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid reader of the Washington POST since 1968, I was ready for a fresh perspective on what those tumultuous years of the early 1970s have meant for the craft of journalism. Himmelman's book gave me an exciting ride, Google Earth style, zooming in to reveal the grittiness of daily reporting and zooming out for a masterful overview of the August 9, 1974 edition announcing our country's first presidential resignation. Himmelman zooms even farther out to assess the role that Ben Bradlee played in building the POST into a great newspaper and how his legacy continues to exert a powerful influence. The alternation of primary source details with reflective interviews reminded me of the shifting perspectives in Colum McCann's novel, LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN. This novel focuses on August 7, 1974, the day before Nixon's resignation, and juxtaposes Philippe Petit's walk on a wire between the World Trade Center towers that day with the inter-related activities of several contemporary New Yorkers, contrasting overview with life on the streets. Nixon's resignation is a mere counterpoint in the New York drama, while in YOURS IN TRUTH, it is a dominating melody. Himmelman shows readers the complexities not only behind Watergate reporting, but also behind many subsequent stories in the POST. By exploring and analyzing the pursuit of truth at all levels--from new reporters to Executive Editors--this gifted biographer has made a significant contribution to journalism. His conclusions should be heeded by all who care about good government and the First Amendment.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read 25 Mar. 2014
By Scott Willett - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As full a portrait of Bradlee as we're ever likely to get, thanks to the degree of access Himmelman was provided. In addition, Bob Woodward's brand of journalism, and his character, are touched on, providing some context for the reporter's work (with Carl Bernstein) on the Watergate scandal. That section, in itself, makes Himmelman's book worth the read. I highly recommend it.
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