Excelsior Editions/State University of New Yo, 9781438449173, 377pp.
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In this powerful memoir, Harry Rosenfeld describes his years as an editor at the New York Herald Tribune
and the Washington Post
, two of the greatest American newspapers in the second half of the turbulent twentieth century. After playing key roles at the Herald Tribune
as it battled fiercely for its survival, he joined the Post
under the leadership of Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham as they were building the paper's national reputation. As the Post
's Metropolitan editor, Rosenfeld managed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they broke the Watergate story, overseeing the paper's standard-setting coverage that eventually earned it the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service. In describing his complicated relationship with Bradlee and offering an insider's perspective on the unlikely partnership of Woodward and Bernstein, Rosenfeld depicts the tensions and challenges, triumphs and setbacks that accompanied the Post
's key role in Watergate, the most potent political scandal in America's history.
Rosenfeld also tells the gripping story of growing up in Hitler's Berlin. He saw his father taken away by the Gestapo in the middle of the night, and on Kristallnacht, the prelude to the Holocaust, he witnessed the burning of his synagogue and walked through streets littered with the shattered glass of Jewish businesses. After his family found refuge in America, his childhood experiences stayed with him and ultimately influenced his decision to make journalism his life's work.
At a time when newspapers and other media are under financial pressure to cut back on investigative reporting, From Kristallnacht to Watergate reminds us why journalism matters, and why good journalism is essential to our democracy.
Harry Rosenfeld is Editor-at-Large and a consultant at the Albany Times Union. He is also a member of the newspaper's editorial board. He lives in Albany, New York.