Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Salisbury spent six decades reporting in Russia, Asia, and the US. Hardened by years in the newspaper trenches, he writes about 25 unforgettable people who inspired his admiration--Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Nikita Krushchev, Roger Wilkins, Patricia King, and other lesser known heroes.
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Former New York Times reporter Salisbury (The New Emperors, 1992, etc.) profiles 25 individuals who have won his admiration. Nearly all the sketches are crisp and effective, but some subjects seem capriciously chosen, failing the author's own criteria: courage. Salisbury has chosen some figures who, though obscure to most readers, seem to have led exemplary lives--including Deng Pufang, who's used his position as son of China's current ruler to change his nation's attitudes about the physically disabled; Sue and Lawrence Brooks, a New England judge and his wife who tirelessly spoke out for civil rights in the US; and Sister Huang Roushan, a nun who for five decades has worked with China's despised lepers. The author is also drawn to those who exude edgy intelligence, energy, or capacity for growth, including Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy, Solzhenitsyn, and David Halberstam--and these sketches crackle with life (RFK was ``hard eyed, hard faced, hard minded, and thin lipped....I was certain his quick eyes did not miss a thing nor his ears a word''). Salisbury also reveals some surprising facts from his Times years, such as that then-city editor A. M. Rosenthal forbade any mention of Malcolm X in the newspaper of record. But some of the author's subjects are bound to produce head-scratching regarding their bravery: Zhou En-lai's greatest assets, for instance, seem to have been the survival skills of a ``gentleman courtier,'' and Khrushchev talked a better game against his party apparatchiks than he played. And what are we to make of this summary of the achievement of Red Storm Over China author Edgar Snow?: ``Certainly Snow could not get Mao to reveal the negatives, to detail the bloodiness of the Long March, the slaughter of the landlords, the infighting with his Russian peers. But those are details.'' Details? Lively sketches of some of the most fascinating people of our time--though a few will remain ``heroes'' to Salisbury alone. (First printing of 25,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Pulitzer Prize winner Salisbury, hero to countless journalists, here writes about his own heroes. The 25 figures he chooses--all from Russia, China or the U.S., Salisbury's beats--are men and women "whose bravery burns in his mind." By Salisbury's admission, not all are necessarily role models: one, Malcolm X, he categorizes as an anti-hero. The profiles presented are affecting and telling: Solzhenitsyn, Gulag prisoner SHCH 232, remains a zek , and although he takes issue with Solzhenitsyn's "often cruelly distorted" visions, Salisbury considers the world "a better place for his beliefs." Among other heroes are journalist David Halberstam, "conscience of the American heritage," and Robert Kennedy, whom Salisbury initially perceived as his brother John's capo, but came to admire when "tragedy tested him and found him true." Two Roman Catholic nuns are elected to the pantheon: Chinese Huang Roushan, who has nursed lepers in her country for 52 years, and American-born Brigid Temple, who established a language learning center in China. Salisbury also makes a case for including his late employer Iphigene Ochs Sulzberger, daughter of New York Times founder Adolph Ochs, and Sue and Lawrence Brooks, a married couple in their 90s who represent the "essence of Boston-ness." If not all of these folk are likable, their heroism is well noted by a reporter who, during a career spanning six decades, has met 'em all. 25,000 first printing; $30,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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