As a child of the 1970s, when I think about Walter Cronkite, I don’t really remember seeing him broadcast the news on television. I have watched countless replays and reports on this iconic figure but he seems to me more of as a familiar great uncle. I did meet him once and he came across as that crazy uncle everyone has, who is full of stories that revolve around him.
In Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley, it gave me a new perspective on this newsman. He came to be in an age of the new world of television. What I found fascinating is that many of the criticism of television reporting in the day are the same that you hear about the new journalism on the internet. That these news bits are superficial, they are not real reporting, and that anyone now can call themselves a reporter.
What you learn in this book is that Cronkite was a make no waves kind of guy. The kind that everyone liked, he had a knack for sharing the events of the day in an easy conversational style. This boy from middle America could connect and until this day still holds the title the most trusted man in television. If he said it, it must be true, you could take his word to the bank as the old maxim goes.
Cronkite also was a part of the greatest generation the ones that tried to do the right thing and a precursor to the “me” generation that we live in today. Cronkite covered the great stories of his day, the assassination of President Kennedy, the space race, and world events.
As Brinkley masterfully does in his writings he takes you into his world, as if you were a fly on the course of his life. You feel closer to this distant uncle and wish you would have been more appreciative of him while he was still around. Maybe he wasn’t as crazy as you thought.
A quick read, Cronkite takes you back to a simpler time where the world was not so noisy with information overload and America was the shiny city on the hill.
A good read for fans or those who want to learn more about this gentleman from Middle America.
By Douglas Brinkley
2012 Harper 820 pp
Dr. Wilson Trivino is a speaker and writer for ABC Vision. He may be reached at [email protected]