Chasing History, Carl Bernstein


I was fortunate to get this just-released book from the library as its first reader (doesn’t get much better…those who frequent the library know what I’m talking about). DC native Bernstein’s tale of his apprenticeship in the newspaper trade from age 16 to 21, between the years 1960 and 1965. The narrative defined a legendary epoch in American life and culture as he witnessed and experienced it in D.C. This defined his future, which in the newspaper industry, is legendary as we know. The days at the Star newspaper and the sort of elastic rhythm of deadlines and press times… the whole operation tightening and relaxing, breathing in and out. His coverage of Kennedy from Senator until his death is worthy, how Kennedy used his body language, his looks, his general and eternal love for being noticed and fawned over. Bernstein carried his reporter notebook everywhere with him, recording the mundane to the highly important. It’s so interesting to study how the reporters in the newsroom went about their business, all the citizen meetings, fires, politics… Carl is so good at getting information. Raised in DC, back then was akin to living in a small town that also happened to be the capital of the USA…. Ordinary neighbors that were sometimes historic figures. Bernstein never graduated from college.. he knew it was a waste for him, experience and hard work being more the educator. Once he realized the Star would never keep him as a reporter sans degree he left for Jersey for a year to work at a local paper in Elizabeth city. Within a year he’s hired by the Washington Post.. and the rest is, as the cliché has it, is history.