No one is more qualified to write a history of CBS’s popular Face the Nation program than Bob Shieffer, its long-time host. This book is a blending of national events of the past half-century and personal reminiscences from the author. It is amazing to consider the breadth of experiences Mr. Shieffer has under his belt. I found it admirable that he remained loyal to CBS (where he has spent his entire national news reporting career) and how he avoided internal squabbles with the egos that inevitably prevail in such an environment.
Ninety-nine percent of this book is exceptionally well written and a fun, easy read; however, I encountered a few minor disappointments: Although he claims to be non-partisan, he made a couple statements about the “poor” which showed his hand at being, for the most part, an Elite Democrat. He has obviously not spent much time in the past 50 years among the poor. I also found it sad, though understandable, that he and his wife don’t know or ask who they each vote for in elections. There seems to be a lack of unity there, probably supplemented by Mr. Shieffer’s long hours and busy work schedule.
That said, this book is a wonderful sort of behind-the-scene account of the headlines of the past few decades. The author, understandably, spends more time on the more recent events, but gives adequate accounts of the distant history of the Face the Nation program. Most of the older events I learned about from history classes and such—it is fascinating to read the experiences of one who was right in the thick of it. Bob Shieffer does a good job of infusing these events with personal observations while not dominating the narrative with himself—a hard thing to do considering that Face the Nation and Bob Shieffer are essentially synonymous.