... charming ... Anyone seeking relief from hashtags, tweets and Instagram is free to revel in the book’s pre-cyber lingo of subheads, galley proofs and 'stocks final' editions ... Along with the paraphernalia, Mr. Bernstein gives us the people, a few of them familiar, most of them unknown or long-forgotten. He capably resurrects the stylishly dressed city editor Sid Epstein, whose meticulousness and strength made him the man Carl Bernstein hoped to become ... Chasing History contains its share of boilerplate...and while Mr. Bernstein has clearly consulted his old reporter’s notebooks, certain incidents and conversations are recalled with an unlikely quotient of conveniently colorful detail. The stentorian tones of the latter-day Bernstein, what one now hears from him on CNN, occasionally sound between its covers, but this is a book chiefly distinguished by nostalgia and warmth.
... a fond, earnest, sepia-toned book, the color of old clippings. It’s pretty good. I mean, it’s OK. It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. It’s just … long and pokey and a bit underthought. I might not have finished it if my paycheck didn’t depend on leaving a clean plate ... A lot happened in the world in the early 1960s ... He describes these historical events in detail, as if few had written about them before. He’s evocative about newsrooms themselves circa 1960 ... He’s good on the camaraderie he found ... Had it run to 175 pages, Chasing History might have been a small classic ... His heart glows remembering his early days in the business, but he can’t quite make ours glow alongside his. If at 370 pages this book overstays its welcome, well, the kid was all right.
It would have been easy for the legendary reporter Carl Bernstein to fall into the nostalgia trap with his new book, the memoir Chasing History, which chronicles his earliest years in the newspaper business. Happily, he doesn't ... Bernstein doesn't mention his later fame in Chasing History — this is a memoir limited to a set period of time, and he resists the urge to look forward. This gives the book its strength: It's not self-aggrandizing; it's content to be what it is, the story of a few years in the life of a young man getting his foothold in journalism. The book is marked by an appealing humility ... And then there's the nostalgia — or lack thereof. Bernstein declines to portray the past as a journalistic utopia; he notes the various bigotries that permeated both the industry and the nation as a whole ... Bernstein, though, is more concerned with leaving a portrait of his experience in mid-century America than with delivering a lecture. That's what makes Chasing History such an enjoyable book. It doesn't try to be anything more than it is.
... encouragement [to aspiring journalists], along with a supersize helping of nostalgia for a bygone newspaper era of Linotype, phone booths and carbon paper, is among the memorable features of Chasing History ... entertaining if occasionally dry ... a tale that mixes personal history with details of the most significant events of that half-decade, as seen from the perspective of a young man who loved the 'glorious chaos of typewriters' and the debris on reporters' 'institutional gunmetal' desks, from dictionaries to parimutuel betting slips ... Bernstein occasionally dwells on insignificant details, such as the type of burger he ate before he covered a citizens' association meeting. At its best, however, Chasing History offers a unique view on American history and one journalist's maturation.
... a lovingly detailed memoir composed in a humble register ... Chasing History can be read as an origin story of many of the debates we’re still having today—about race, about culture, and about the appropriate role and reach of American power across the globe. But it can also be read as a call for a debate that we should be having but aren’t—about how to support the kind of public-service-minded, labor-intensive journalism that inspired Bernstein to get into the business. As much as it is about Bernstein, this book is about the vibrant life and inexorable death of the Star and, by extension, all too many other major metropolitan dailies. It is, however, hardly sentimental ... More than any numbers could, Bernstein’s book gives a vivid sense of what has been lost.
With engaging writing, he details his path from copyboy to a dictationist to an award-winning journalist, offering insight into the political events he covered along the way ... Aspiring journalists and readers interested in mid-20th-century news events and politics will enjoy this colorful slice-of-life portrait of a bygone era, where once the clatter of a typewriter and the bustle of a newsroom permeated the newspaper industry.
... a multifaceted portrait of greater DC, Bernstein’s home town. Bernstein is something of a Zelig here, turning up in a reportorial role at multiple historic events ... Bernstein catches history in this thoroughly absorbing read.
The author’s reminiscences of old-school journalism—with its chaotic newsrooms, hot type, and guarded friendships among sources and writers—will please newspaper buffs, those who read the memoirs of H.L Mencken and Joseph Mitchell. Of wider interest is Bernstein’s depiction of Washington in a time of desegregation and racial turmoil ... An appealingly nostalgic view of a political past unriven by political tribalism, chronicled by a reporter with an eye on history.
... [an] entertaining memoir. With wry humor, he describes his apprenticeship ... Just as enthralling are his quaint recollections of growing up in D.C., at a time when being raised there felt 'akin to living in a small town that also happened to be the capital of the United States.' Admirers of this remarkable journalist will find much to love in this charming account.