Saturday, December 1, 2007

Five best books: Brokaw on journalism

Tom Brokaw, a former anchorman of NBC Nightly News and the author, most recently, of Boom! Voices of the Sixties, named a five best list of books which "reflect my own attitudes about the craft I've practiced for 45 years now" for Opinion Journal.

Number One on the list:
The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse (Random House, 1973).

The five books I've chosen to write about reflect my own attitudes about the craft I've practiced for 45 years now. They're a mix of the triumphs of journalism, the absurdities, the vanities and the importance of a free press in any society. For its revelations in the absurdities and vanities category, "The Boys on the Bus" has yet to be equaled. Timothy Crouse's breakthrough book about the press pack covering the 1972 presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and George McGovern was the journalistic equivalent of Jim Bouton's locker-room view of major league baseball in "Ball Four," published two years earlier. Crouse punctured reporters' big egos and stripped away the self-righteous cover of objectivity. He also skewered the "womblike conditions" of pack journalism -- operating, in this case, from the blinkered perspective of life on campaign planes and buses, in airport press conferences and at restaurants in the company of spin doctors.
Read about the other books on Brokaw's list.

--Marshal Zeringue