November 22, 2013

Brinkley On Cronkite

Douglas Brinkley

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Marcia Franklin talks with historian Douglas Brinkley, Ph.D., about his 2012 biography of iconic CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, who famously announced Kennedy's death to a national TV audience on November 22, 1963.

In Cronkite, his most recent book, Brinkley (no relation to newscaster David Brinkley) drew on his access to Cronkite's private papers at the University of Texas and interviews with more than 150 of Cronkite's friends and family members to write the first major biography of the "the most trusted man in America."

Franklin and Brinkley discuss the highlights of Cronkite's career and what distinguished him from other broadcasters, as well as some of the eccentricities of Cronkite's personality that Brinkley discovered while researching the book.

Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University, was in Coeur d'Alene to speak at the Idaho Humanities Council's annual Northern Idaho Distinguished Humanities Lecture.

Franklin and Brinkley last spoke in the fall of 2010 (see links below), when they talked about his book, Wilderness Warrior, which chronicled President Theodore Roosevelt's work to preserve large tracts of land in the United States for forests, parks and preserves. Brinkley's next book will look at the preservation legacy of President Franklin Roosevelt.

In addition to teaching at Rice, Douglas Brinkley is a fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. His writing covers a broad range of topics, including presidents, military campaigns, American leaders, Catholicism and Hurricane Katrina. He is the history commentator for CBS News as well as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review and American Heritage. The New York Times has selected five of Brinkley's award-winning books as Notable Books of the Year.