So As I Was Saying . . . (Hardcover)

My Somewhat Eventful Life

By Frank Mankiewicz, Joel L. Swerdlow

Thomas Dunne Books, 9781250070647, 288pp.

Publication Date: February 16, 2016

List Price: 26.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


“I first met Robert Kennedy because I spoke Spanish. I spoke Spanish because the U.S. Army taught me that before sending me to France, Belgium, and Germany to fight Hitler’s Army. This makes complete sense if you are familiar with military bureaucracy.”

Such is the trademark wit of Frank Mankiewicz. With his dry sense of humor and self-deprecating humility—despite his many accomplishments—Frank’s voice speaks from the pages of So as I was Saying... in a way that is both conversational and profound. Before he died in 2014 Frank’s fascinating life took him from Beverly Hills to the battlefields of Europe; from the halls of power in Washington D.C. to the far corners of the world. A lifelong student of humanity and mentor to many, including presidents, Frank was a loving father, husband, and friend, and his legacy is will endure for generations.

Born into Hollywood royalty but determined to make his own way, Frank served in World War Two, wrote speeches for Robert Kennedy, ran a presidential campaign, carried messages to Fidel Castro, served as president of National Public Radio (helping create Morning Edition), and as regional director for the Peace Corps. Naturally such a long and interesting life gave rise to a myriad of opinions, and Frank was not afraid to share them. In this intriguing, insightful, and often humorous memoir, Frank recalls his favorite memories while sharing his opinions on everything from Zionism to smartphones. Imbued with the personality of one of the twentieth century’s most gifted raconteurs, So As I Was Saying... invokes nostalgia for the past even as it gives hope for the future.

About the Author

FRANK MANKIEWICZ was a public relations consultant, lawyer, writer, and journalist. He is best known as Robert F. Kennedy’s press secretary but was also the president of NPR, a regional director for the Peace Corps, and George McGovern’s campaign director.

DR. JOEL L. SWERDLOW is an author, editor, journalist, researcher, and educator. A senior writer and editor at National Geographic for 10 years, his published works include To Heal a Nation: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Praise For So As I Was Saying . . .: My Somewhat Eventful Life

"It is a rare book that contains personal accounts of encounters and friendships with such a diverse crew as Orson Welles... Donald Rumsfeld; George McGovern and Hunter S. Thompson.... Anyone who follows politics or government can see how often advice is ignored." 3.5 out of 4 stars —USA Today

"Off-the-cuff-sketches from a rich, committed life...pleasant and frequently hilarious....his writing is sharp and fearless. A roughly chronological memoir of a life well-lived, full of specific portraits and vivid detail." –Kirkus Reviews

"A thoughtful and memorable volume that will make readers feel as though they are having coffee with the author. Recommended for both film and history aficionados." —Library Journal [Starred Review]

"A wide-ranging and interesting collection of anecdotes." –Booklist

“From the first time I met him until the last time I saw him, a span of more than forty years, Frank always left an unforgettable impression—smart, strong, down to earth yet larger than life....I still think of him in the morning when Hillary and I start our day with NPR, and when I go to Peru, where Frank began his work with the Peace Corps.... But for the rest of my life I will be most grateful for the lesson he taught our young band in 1972–that the great privilege and duty of freedom is to stand up for what you believe, win or lose.”—Bill Clinton

"Whether you read or write old or new media, it's the message that matters. Frank Mankiewicz knew that, and you need to know him. So As I Was Saying... tells the story of a truly democratic communicator, from Hollywood to the Kennedys and the Peace Corps, from national political campaigns to National Public Radio–always championing diverse and true voices. We need his example. Fortunately, he is on every page." —Gloria Steinem

“Frank Mankiewicz was one of life's famous men. And I'm honored to have known him."—Gary Hart

Coverage from NPR