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David Brinkley: A Memoir

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Surely one of the joys of election-night coverage is the presence of David Brinkley, barking out pointed commentary and offering sometimes relevant but always amusing anecdotes. His rambling, grab-bag reminiscences, peppered with his trademark sardonic wit, offer only a few personal details: His mother was rather cold and reserved; his father was a soft touch. But David Brinkley: A Memoir isn’t so much his story as it is a collection of fine stories about others — including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Lyndon B. Johnson — that he accumulated during his years in radio, newspapers, network news, and Sunday-morning roundtable shows. Brinkley’s style is idiosyncratic: He spends the second-to-last chapter summing up the accomplishments of his children and then uses the final pages to chart the history and abuses of the income tax. Typical. Over the years, it seems, Brinkley’s job was a lot of fun, and he had fun doing it. Well, it was and he did. C+