Helen Thomas Books





Easton Press Helen Thomas books:
Front Row at The White House - signed first edition - 1999
Listen Up, Mr. President - signed first edition - 2010 (co-authored with Craig Crawford)

 

Front Row at the White House: My Life and Times
I'm still here, still arriving at the White House in the wee hours of the morning, reading the papers and checking the wire, still waiting for the morning briefing, still sitting down to write the first story of the day and still waiting to ask the tough questions.

From the woman who has reported on every president from Kennedy to Clinton for United Press International: a unique glimpse into the White House and a telling record of the ever-changing relationship between the presidency and the press.
From her earliest years, Helen Thomas wanted to be a reporter. Raised in Depression-era Detroit, she worked her way to Washington after college and, unlike other women reporters who gave up their jobs to returning veterans, parlayed her copy-aide job at the Washington Daily News into a twelve-year stint as a radio news writer for UPI, covering such beats as the Department of Justice and other federal agencies.

Assigned to the White House press corps in 1961, Thomas was the first woman to close a press conference with "Thank you, Mr. President," and has covered every administration since Kennedy's. Along the way, she was among the pioneers who broke down barriers against women in the national media, becoming the first female president of the White House Correspondents Association, the first female officer of the National Press Club and the first woman member, later president, of the Gridiron Club.

In this revealing memoir, which includes hundreds of anecdotes, insights, observations, and personal details, Thomas looks back at a career spent with presidents at home and abroad, on the ground and in the air. She evaluates the enormous changes that Watergate brought, including diminished press access to the Oval Office, and how they have affected every president since Nixon. Providing a unique view of the past four decades of presidential history, Front Row at the White House offers a seasoned study of the relationship between the chief executive officer and the press a relationship that is sometimes uneasy, sometimes playful, yet always integral to democracy.

Soon enough there will be another president, another first lady, another press secretary and a whole new administration to discover. I'm looking forward to it although I'm sure whoever ends up in the Oval Office in a new century may not be so thrilled about the prospect.


Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do
Helen Thomas has covered the administrations of ten presidents in a career spanning nearly sixty years. She is known for her famous press conference closing line, "Thank you, Mr. President," but here she trades deference for directness. Thomas and veteran journalist Craig Crawford hold nothing back as they use former occupants of the White House to provide a witty, history-rich lesson plan of what it takes to be a good president.

Combining sharp observation and dozens of examples from the first presidency through the forty-fourth, the authors outline the qualities, attitudes, and political and personal choices that make for the most successful leaders, and the least. Calvin Coolidge, who hired the first professional speechwriter in the White House, illuminates the importance of choosing words wisely. William Howard Taft, notorious for being so fat he broke his White House bathtub, shows how not to cultivate a strong public image. John F. Kennedy, who could handle the press corps and their questions with aplomb, shows how to establish a rapport with the press and open oneself up to the public. Ronald Reagan, who acknowledged the Iran-Contra affair in a television address, demonstrates how telling hard truths can earn forgiveness and even public trust.

By gleaning lessons from past leaders, Thomas and Crawford not only highlight those that future presidents should follow but also pinpoint what Americans should look for and expect in their president. Part history lesson, part presidential primer, Listen Up, Mr. President is smart, entertaining, and exceedingly edifying.






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