The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who helped take down Richard Nixon recalls his beginnings in journalism, from the ranks of subpar high school student to audacious teenage newspaper reporter in the nation's capital.
... 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.
... 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.