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Front Row at the White House


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About the Author

Helen Thomas is the dean of the White House press corps. The recipient of more than forty honorary degrees, she was honored in 1998 with the inaugural Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award, established by the White House Correspondents' Association. The author of Thanks for the Memories, Mr. President; Front Row at the White House; and Dateline: White House, she lives in Washington, D.C., where she writes a syndicated column for Hearst.


The veteran Washington reporter gives her account of instant history at the White House, the result of her fly-on-the-wall perch covering the administrations of every president since JFK for United Press International. Thomas is always on hand with a jaded eye, a cynical word and a probing question. And her story gives a view of the Fourth Estate surprisingly dissimilar to those that predominate today. In Thomass telling, the press is an institution, one of the many necessities of a democratic society. Gossip and scandal dont drive events, she asserts, as much as the desire to get the story and tell it first. Contained within her memoirs are remarkable recollections of Lyndon Johnson, who investigated the press as much as it investigated him; of Richard Nixon, who asks Thomas to say a prayer for me in one of Watergates darkest hours; of Martha Mitchell, a cabinet wife (of Nixons John Mitchell) who got sucked in and spat out by Beltway politics; and of First Ladies who offer birthday greetingsand others who close off their private lives. While the book is woefully thin on personal motivation and inner thoughts (one of the shortest chapters is on Thomass husband, former AP White House reporter Doug Cornell), it provides a sharp chronicle of the nations recent historyand of the crusade of women reporters to be considered the equal or better of their male counterparts. (May)

Brenda Warner Rotzoll Chicago Sun-Times The first lady of UPI packs half a century of history into [this book]....Her snapshots of White House power figures and would-bes will delight news junkies and history lovers.
Larry King USA Today Wonderful....Front Row at the White House is a terrific read.

Thomas was the first woman reporter to cover the Presidency, a job she has been doing since 1961.

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