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.
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.