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60 Minutes: 25 Years of Television's Finest Hour

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As a rule, books about TV shows lose a lot in the translation. Not so this history of 60 Minutes, which just happens to cover some of the most compelling people and events of the late 20th century. In fact, it’s hard to say which part of the book is better, the saga of the program’s ratings rise-the format changes, shifting array of correspondents, and creator-executive producer Don Hewitt’s subtle fine-tunings (such as giving the stopwatch more airtime)-or the actual segments themselves, tantalizing excerpts of which are scattered throughout. Probably it’s the latter: From the disaster in Chernobyl to the disaster-prone Ford Pinto, from author and killer Jack Abbott to the scandal-plagued pre-White House Clintons, these stories will resonate for those who’ve already seen them, and enlighten those who haven’t. Sure, author Coffey toots the show’s horn a bit, displaying its badges of success, while glossing over glitches in the clockwork (like Andy Rooney’s careless on-air comment about homosexual sex). But after 25 years, the show’s influence, its record of exposing-and yes, even righting- wrongs, and its ability to entertain cannot be denied, making 60 Minutes itself another story well worth the telling. A

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