Hugh Downs

Easton Press Hugh Downs books

My America: What My Country Means to Me - signed first edition - 2002


Journalist Hugh Downs

Hugh Downs, born on February 14, 1921, in Akron, Ohio, was an American broadcaster, television host, and journalist whose career spanned several decades. Known for his affable demeanor, versatility, and sharp intellect, Downs became a familiar and trusted presence in American households through his work in both news and entertainment. Downs began his broadcasting career in the 1940s, gaining experience in radio before transitioning to television. He became a household name as the announcer and sidekick on the Jack Paar-hosted version of The Tonight Show in the late 1950s. His wit and charm made him a popular figure, contributing to the success of the show. One of Hugh Downs' significant contributions to television was as the co-host of the ABC news magazine program 20/20, which he co-anchored with Barbara Walters. 20/20 premiered in 1978 and became a groundbreaking program known for its in-depth reporting and interviews. Downs's journalistic skills and ability to connect with audiences played a crucial role in the show's success.

Beyond his work on 20/20, Downs hosted and appeared on various television programs, including game shows like Concentration and The Today Show on NBC. His versatility allowed him to seamlessly transition between news, entertainment, and educational programming. In addition to his on-screen roles, Hugh Downs was recognized for his contributions to the field of broadcasting with multiple awards. He received several Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Outside of his broadcasting career, Downs was also an author, philanthropist, and advocate for education. He authored several books, including Letter to a Great Grandson and My America. His commitment to education and culture was evident in his role as chairman of the board of the National Space Society and as a supporter of various educational initiatives. Hugh Downs retired from broadcasting in 1999, marking the end of a remarkable career that had left an indelible mark on the television industry. He passed away on July 1, 2020, at the age of 99. Hugh Downs is remembered not only for his professionalism and contributions to journalism but also for his warmth, intelligence, and enduring impact on the medium of television.


My America - What This Country Means to Me by 150 Americans from All Walks of Life

"Some of these essays are powerful and poetic. Some seem to reflect a stunned condition on the part of the contributor. But all of them share a newborn or reawakened feeling about the country we live in an underlying concern for it, whether that concern is rooted in anger and fear, or in a sensed and urgent need for action, or internal correction, or wagon-circling. Some are personal narratives that explain and justify the patriotism of the writer. Some examine and praise the values that make the country great." - Hugh Downs, from the Introduction

What is the essence of America? In this fascinating new collection inspired by one of our most trusted and beloved commentators, 150 diverse Americans from top politicians and entertainers to firefighters and teachers express in their own words what America means to them.

"My America" includes candid insights from television journalists such as Mike Wallace and Barbara Walters; politicians including former president George Bush and John Glenn; writers such as Walter Anderson and Anita Diamant; and entertainers, among them Dave Brubeck and Patricia Neal; as well as lesser-known citizens from all over the country. These frank and thought-provoking observations from Americans of every age, race, religion, and social position compellingly illustrate the American mosaic and offer a glimpse into the subconscious mind of this unique and wonderful nation. This touching volume, celebrating the similarities and the differences of a people, reflects our core values and is sure to inspire pride in America.

Edited and with an introduction and an epilogue by Hugh Downs who co-anchored ABC's "20/20," hosted NBC's "Today"show, and has been an important American voice for more than half a century "My America" explores the values, ideals, and dreams that all Americans share. At a time when people are reassessing their patriotism and rediscovering their national allegiance, emotions regarding the United States are stronger and more poignant than they have been in years, and this sentiment has been captured in these pages.

"My America" is a timely collection for anyone who wants to reflect on America's past, or celebrate its future.


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