The Powers That Be

  • Title: The Powers That Be
  • Author: David Halberstam
  • ISBN: 9780252069413
  • Page: 338
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Powers That Be Gives an account of power at work in America
    Gives an account of power at work in America.

    • The Powers That Be >> David Halberstam
      338 David Halberstam
    • thumbnail Title: The Powers That Be >> David Halberstam
      Posted by:David Halberstam
      Published :2019-06-20T00:03:51+00:00

    About David Halberstam


    1. David Halberstam April 10, 1934 April 23, 2007 was an American Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War and his later sports journalism.Halberstam graduated from Harvard University with a degree in journalism in 1955 and started his career writing for the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Mississippi In the late 1950s and early 1960s, writing for The Tennessean in Nashville, Tennessee, he covered the beginnings of the American Civil Rights Movement.In the mid 1960s, Halberstam covered the Vietnam War for The New York Times While there, he gathered material for his book The Making of a Quagmire America and Vietnam during the Kennedy Era In 1963, he received a George Polk Award for his reporting at the New York Times At the age of 30, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the war He is interviewed in the 1968 documentary film on the Vietnam War entitled In the Year of the Pig.Halberstam put an enormous effort into his book about Kennedy s foreign policy decisions about the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest Synthesizing material from dozens of books and many dozens of interviews, Halberstam focused on the odd paradox that those who crafted the U.S war effort in Vietnam were some of the most intelligent, well connected and self confident men in America the best and the brightest and yet those same men were unable to imagine and promote any but a bloody and disastrous course in the Vietnam War.Thousands of readers began The Best and the Brightest feeling that the U.S must pursue the war in Vietnam until victory was achieved, but became convinced by Halberstam s book that the U.S could not win and therefore should withdraw from Vietnam.After publication of The Best and the Brightest in 1972, Halberstam plunged right into another big book and in 1979 published an informative book about some of the major media outlets in America The Powers That Be gave compelling profiles of men like William Paley of CBS, Henry Luce of Time magazine, Phil Graham of The Washington Post and many others.Later in his career, Halberstam turned to the subjects of sports, publishing The Breaks of the Game, an inside look at the Bill Walton and the 1978 Portland Trailblazers basketball team an ambitious book on Michael Jordan in 1999 called Playing for Keeps and on the pennant race battle between the Yankees and Red Sox called Summer of 49.After publishing two books in the 1960s, Halberstam published three books in the 1970s, four books in the 1980s, and six books in the 1990s He published four books in the 2000s and was on a pace to publish six or books in that decade before his death In the wake of 9 11, Halberstam wrote perhaps the most sensitive and insightful book about that tragedy, detailing Engine 40, Ladder 35, in the tome, Firehouse.In 1980, an escaped convict from New York, Bernard C Welch, Jr murdered Halberstam s brother, Michael J Halberstam, a Washington, D.C cardiologist 1 Halberstam refused to comment publicly about this incident.


    711 Comments


    1. This week, I finished two books that both merit extremely high praise. One is Andrew Bacevich's most recent study of America's ineptitude at trying to subdue the Greater Middle East, and the second is this book by David Halberstam. Halberstam's premature death from a car accident in 2007 marked a great loss for American journalism, and thus, I would argue, for America itself. Why did it not cause a greater uproar than it did? Nevertheless, he left behind a monumental library of books analyzing h [...]

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    2. David Halberstam was an excellent and astute writer. Having read several of his books, I had high expectations for this one and I was not disappointed. This time around, he tackles the (way too important) role of the major media outlets and how they can and do influence the attitudes of their readers/viewers. One thing to note, and this is certainly not a criticism of Halberstam, is that this book (written in 1979) is now quite dated. It was re-released in 2000, and he provided an introduction t [...]

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    3. This book tells the story of how media shapes message, not in dry theory but through the individuals involved in developing and using the technology in the mid-20th-century. David Halberstam holds interest consistently for over 1000 pages as he traces mainstream American culture through more than 30 years, showing expertly how points of progress also come with their own problems.Even though the media landscape is vastly different than the one he leaves in the early 80s, tracing the trends with h [...]

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    4. Halberstam finished The Powers That Be in 1979, just as its subjects; CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and the LA Times were about to begin their inexorable decline. He captures some of these factors, particularly the shift away from family ownership to listed, profit-centred companies, and the political backlash (largely from the Right) as television and investigative reporting both increased Presidential power while simultaneously replacing traditional party politics, becomi [...]

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    5. Having already read David Halberstam's The Summer of '49 and the Teammates, I knew I already liked him as an author. But those two books are non-fiction works about baseball, a sport I dearly love; and The Powers That Be is about the media and how it changed American politics and society. The media is not something I know much about to begin with, so it was daunting to pick-up this 736-pager.Why read this non-fiction monstrosity (I say "monstrosity" because the hardcover version also features a [...]

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    6. The Pulitzer Prize winning and Harvard education (in journalism) writer who exposes in this book the media barons who changed the face and perception of the United States forever. Luce, Paley, the Grahams and the Chandlers. before Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch the stage had been set for what we now face where the media controls and alters the world and the way we live. A serious must read not for all of us but particularly for those who work in the media

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    7. A fascinating look at the history of media and politics in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Not particularly well structured -- the book drops the reader into the narrative and doesn't do much in the way of framing or explanation. Even the sections are blandly labeled "I, II, II, IV" with no unifying theme. The book is incredibly detailed and meticulous in its history -- many, many names are referenced (some with little or no introduction, leading me to the names to figure out who these folks were). The [...]

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    8. Combining diligent over-reported detail and comically overwrought prose, David Halberstam proves once again that his brilliance lay in the deadline newspaper article or Harper's thumb-sucker. And that is no disrespect, I wish my brilliance lay somewhere, ANYWHERE!But Halberstam's portentious pronouncements on the meaning of EVERYTHING results in prose so turgidly purple that it is a distraction from the real feat of journalism he has pulled off.His coverage of the rises and falls of CBS, the Was [...]

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    9. Halberstam is a fine writer. Or should I say, his research assistants know their ways around good stories. At any rate, an imperfect but enjoyable story that is mostly accurate and makes for a good read.

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    10. Another classic by Halberstam, this one focusing on the power and influence of the American media, specifically The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Washington Post and CBS, specifically these media's influence over American politics and policies. As in his other works, Halberstam writes in rich detail that bring his characters to life--from titans like Harry Luce of Time to working reporters. This book begins in the 1950s and concludes in the 1970s. I found myself espec [...]

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    11. Very richly-detailed and engrossing history of major American media outlets in the middle of the last century - from the rise of Roosevelt (FDR) to the fall of Nixon - and its influence on on society and politics and vice versa Packed with corporate bosses, publishers, top editors and journalists to various politicians who used the media and some who were exposed by it including legends like Bill Paley, Ed Murrow and Walter Cronkite of CBS, the Mayers and Grahams, Ben Bradlee and of course Bob W [...]

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    12. David Halberstam is a journalist's journalist. Using striking biographical sketches of the very important persons and their assorted minions at the hearts and souls of CBS, (William Paley, Frank Stanton, Jim Aubrey, Edward R. Murrow), Time/Life, (Harry Luce), Washington Post, (Phil and Katherine Graham), LA Times, (The Chandlers), and New York Times, (William Ochs "Punch" Salzburger) he paints a shocking picture in words of the mass hypnosis that major media brings with it. He describes our pres [...]

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    13. Really liked this book by one of the greatest writers of all time. I was a little skeptical of it at first because its the biggest Halberstam book in size (736 pages) but it actually went by pretty fast for a book of that size. The Powers That Be is about the history of journalism told through the Washington Post, LA Times, New York Times, Time Inc. and CBS. A lot of good stuff here on people such as Edward Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Harry Luce, Dan Rather, the Chandlers, Kay Graham, Ben Bradlee a [...]

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    14. This is a book I wanted to read when it came out but somehow I never found a copy to read. Earlier this year I read Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest and was amazed. I am especially enjoying the chapters on the Washington Post; since I worked there and have read nearly every book that's come out on the paper I thought I knew most everything about it but there are new stories here. Halberstam collected great stories.As a Watergate freak, I thought I'd heard all the stories about Woodward an [...]

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    15. I really enjoyed seeing how accidentally some of the great institutions of the media were created and evolved. So much depended on the strength of personality of key people at key times. Events often drove the people but more often the people drove the events. The end result is so dependent on some key people being able to have a basic vision that gets changed many times along the way.

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    16. A daunting and somewhat overwhelming history of some of the media outlets that have shaped modern American history - CBS, Time, the LA Times, the NY Times, and the Washington Post. Some time has passed, and the relationship of the media is constantly in flux. Nevertheless, it is still extremely important to understand how much the media can influence a society's way of thinking and perception of events.

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    17. halberstam's access to the behind the scenes action in major american media in from the 50s through the 70s offers an enormous amount of truly enlightening insight into how the media actually operates and grants perspective into the enormous amount of power it wields. as always, halberstam writes well.

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    18. This is an excellent telling of the story of the powerful and influential publications and publishers in American journalism. Speaking as one who was a journalism major for both my bachelor's and master's degrees, this book should be a textbook in a journalism history course in every journalism school in the country.

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    19. This book is pretty dated now, but when I read it had quite the impact. It really gives one a broad perspective of how the media works and how those specific outlets became the powerhouses they were at the time. It's too bad we lost David. I've love to read his perceptions of our new media madness.

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    20. // Masterful. Simply stunning in its research and its powerful argument -- that American media changed both America and American power and the presidency. Published in 1979 - it is a highly recommended read for the current 2016 election cycle. More than this it is beautifully written. So yeah // really liked it.

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    21. When David Halberstam was killed while riding a bike I felt as if I'd lost a friend. I am not an English teacher or a writer. I only know when I enjoy a good book the writer becomes my friend. Telling a story whether it be fiction or nonfiction is all in the talent of the writer. I am loyal to certain writers. In my unprofessional opinion no one did it better than David Halberstam.

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    22. A well-written history of several American news companies: the Washington Post, CBS News, Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Lots of anecdotes, mainly about the founders and management. Remarkably little dirt. The leaders of journalism were competitive, but they were not corrupt. Written during the 1970s, when the Watergate scandal made us see journalists as heroes.

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    23. Makes it clear our news media is conservative and not liberal as we often think. Its also a private business, so that which is reported is what the owners want us to hear, not necessarily what the government wants. Individual reporters can be problematic for conservative owners but ultimately its the owners that are in control.

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    24. Excellent history of the rise of Big Media. Like most Halberstam books, The Powers That Be is a supplement for a class you probably could've taken in college. Here there's no grade, no early wake up time, no test and no stupid questions from your classmates.

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    25. Finally! This took longer than anything since "The Last Temptation of Christ". A really well researched ( if overwritten ) history of the media's influence in modern America. If the book was often repetitive, it was always fascinating.

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    26. What I really knew about media and media ownership as a college freshman was next to nil, but, luckily, this was assigned reading in Father Schroth's Intro to Mass Communications class. Several light bulbs turned on at once that semester, I recall.

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    27. Ok this book is now dated but it is a remarkable and dramatic tale of some of the most powerful media institutions created. if only someone woud do a massive retreatment wth new media companies that have taken the place of these. High drama, great read. God, that sounded like a movie blurb

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    28. when i read this, journalism was still a glamarous field (way before the internet era). this was one of the most fascinating books--opening a world of power brokers and rags to riches stories--all in the real world. loved it so much, i gave it to my mom, a historian--and she loved it too.

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    29. Great ReadThis book is intimidating in terms of length but it's depth of knowledge regarding its subject matter is TRUELY remarkable. The chapters on the inner workings of the Watergate scandal and its early investigation make it a must read !!!!

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    30. David Halberstam’s tome about the growth of media power is repetitive, burdensome, it circles itself like an overweight prizefighter attempting to gain the advantage of the mirror, but like the aging boxer is filled with anecdotal glory.

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