Bob Schieffer’s America

Longtime followers of Bob Schieffer , the chief Washington correspondent for CBS, will hear his silky rasp echo in their heads as they thumb through Bob Schieffer’s America , a compilation of 171 commentaries from his Sunday Face the Nation broadcasts. Always the plainspoken Texan, the veteran newsman weighs in, ever so succinctly, on a variety of topics and events, from his one-question interview with Richard Nixon (asked if he was planning to hire outside people or in-house advisers, the president answered, “These will be outhouse advisers”) to an Alabama supreme court judge’s placement of a Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse (Schieffer imagines the public reaction had it been a tribute to Muhammad, given that “there are more Muslims in America than Episcopalians”). Schieffer is no libertarian, but he is determinedly independent, and his defense of Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon is as sincere as his plea for reasonable gun control. The result is a fitting companion work to his 2003 career memoir, This Just In , and 2004’s Face the Nation , a collection of stories from the show. TV constraints dictated the brevity of these pieces, but Schieffer thrives in the short form, displaying the rare ability to speak his mind and then move on. We could use more of that. Putnam, $24.95

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