MSNBC anchor and NBC correspondent Katyk Tur writes about her eccentric and volatile California childhood, punctuated by forest fires, earthquakes, and police chases--all seen from a thousand feet in the air. And she charts her own survival from local reporter to globe-trotting foreign correspondent, running from her past.
... [Tur's] second, equally compelling memoir ... Like the Trump campaign, it’s a hell of a story ... But Tur handles her family drama so wryly that you’re in safe hands; it never veers into melodrama. And when she meets and then marries the CBS Mornings co-anchor Tony Dokoupil — with whom she bonds over his own complicated father, an illegal drug entrepreneur — you want to cheer ... Tur is especially on point at discussing the competing forces of career and motherhood. Conscious that she eschewed a personal life while on the campaign trail, she’s startlingly frank about her need for a partner who wants children and about timing her first pregnancy so she can cover the 2020 election afterward ... And despite a second memoir just shy of 40, she seems low-maintenance for a TV anchor. With her sharp eye and intelligence, she seems wasted behind that damned desk. Her Trump coverage was eerily prescient, but because the political pundits at NBC didn’t take Trump seriously, they forced Tur to second-guess herself. Schooled as a toddler from the helicopter, she’s exactly the reporter you want out in the field doing special reports, not seated behind a desk at 2 p.m.
[Tur's] second book therefore tells a story she had spent her adult life avoiding: the story of her childhood. The switch was the right choice because even a particularly hard-fought campaign could not compete with the drama of her upbringing ... The family story gives Katy Tur’s book its spine and its power. But interspersed with personal history are occasional attempts at press criticism which reveal uneven judgement ... On the one hand, Tur acknowledges that her parents’ hugely successful focus on sensationalism is often blamed for the downfall of local TV news, and 'some would say the downfall of national TV news too'...But when she complains that too many people bemoan the decline of her profession in the decades since Walter Cronkite practiced it, she goes completely off the rails ... Tur is a better than average network news correspondent. I admired her work when she covered Trump. But judgements like the ones she passes on Cronkite are the very reason so many long for the days when networks employed correspondents of the caliber of Roger Mudd, Richard Threlkeld, Charles Kuralt, Elie Abel, Bob Simon, Charles Collingwood, Ed Bradley, Edwin Newman, Jim Wooten and more – all of whom were vastly superior to their current counterparts.
This is a case study in the blessings and curse of family legacy, a vivid account of how one woman’s inheritance propelled her from a tumultuous childhood to a high-profile perch in television journalism ... It is odd for a person under 40 to have already written two memoirs, but Tur has the humility to call this a 'Rough Draft' of an autobiography. It is more provocative than Tur’s first book, about covering Trump, a conventional campaign memoir. Rough Draft is a painful read in many parts, laced with humor in others, embellished with reflections on journalism ... Tur’s memoir includes reflections on the flaws of contemporary journalism — such as cable’s contribution to the polarization of politics — but with no grand ideas for fixing it ... The book’s appeal may not reach far beyond her fans, but Tur has many and they will enjoy this fast-paced tale.