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From one of America’s most revered journalists–a richly entertaining roundup of the extraordinary individuals with whom he crossed paths in our nation’s capital and of the events that marked the twentieth century.

Here are firsthand profiles of Washington insiders that only an insider himself could have given us: Franklin D. Roosevelt counting out enough cigarettes to get through a half-hour debriefing with the press; May Craig, the first female reporter to penetrate Roosevelt’s inner sanctum, who never failed to remind the president that his wife was a newspaper writer, too; Theodore Bilbo, a Mississippi senator and race baiter who effectively became mayor of Washington at a time when it was a segregated provincial town; Jimmy Hoffa, the popular and ill-fated union leader; Lyndon Johnson, whom Brinkley describes as the most impressive and appalling figure he encountered; and Ronald Reagan, whom he found to be the most mysterious of the eleven presidents he covered. Here is also Brinkley’s account of President Kennedy’s assassination and a poignant remembrance of D-day.

David Brinkley was there and saw it all. In the “sour-lovable manner” (Mark Feeney, Boston Globe) of storytelling that he perfected, and in a narrative style that is both “hilarious and instructive” (George Will), Brinkley’s Beat gives us his vivid recollections and the intelligence, acuity, and clear-sightedness on which his unimpeachable reputation rested for more than half a century.

From the Hardcover edition.

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