If I were a tree…Barbara Walters would have pulped me into paper for her Bible-length memoir, Audition, an uneven mix of family nostalgia, professional drama, vivid anecdotes, and what the news biz calls Stuff That Should Have Been Left Out. She seems compelled to offer some dish — one chapter is titled ”Special Men in My Life,” a list that includes Alan Greenspan — yet she may not be clear on what dishing really is, as her personal life comes across as a series of reasonable, ultimately positive encounters. The phrase ”remains my friend to this day” appears regularly.

Walters’ carefully parsed episodes would be forgivable if her stories about interviewing Fidel Castro, Monica Lewinsky, Muammar Gaddafi, and about 8 million celebs were more insightful. Turns out Tom Hanks is very nice. It’s a shame, sifting through these lesser tales, because Audition contains some fascinating stories (Walters censoring her interview with a sloshed Betty Ford), a good deal of frankness (defending her friendship with GOP power broker Roy Cohn), and grand old war stories from her groundbreaking stints with Today and ABC News.

Fans of The View will be disappointed. Walters drops no big bombs about the departures of Rosie O’Donnell and Star Jones. Perhaps they will brighten at this tidbit: Walters claims she never perspires and has the ”bladder of a camel.” Could Harry Reasoner say as much? B-

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