An Excerpt from Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Carl Bernstein’s New Memoir Just Published on CBS News’ Website
19 Jan 2022
An excerpt from legendary investigative journalist and APB speaker Carl Bernstein’s newest book was recently featured on CBS News’ website. Bernstein’s memoir, Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom (Henry Holt & Co.), which was released Jan. 11, tells the story of his early days as a journalist in the nation’s capital at The Washington Star—the city’s afternoon paper. He was just 16 when he began working as a copy boy. By 19, he was a reporter there.
"I just finished my junior year of high school," Bernstein told CBS Sunday Morning reporter David Martin. "I had sort of one foot in the juvenile court and one foot trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life because it wasn't exactly going right."
That all changed the minute Bernstein stepped into the Star’s newsroom. “In my whole life I had never heard such glorious chaos or seen such purposeful commotion as I now beheld in that newsroom,” he writes. “By the time I had walked from one end to the other, I knew that I wanted to be a newspaperman.”
His start as a budding reporter is just one of many stories Bernstein covers in his new book. He chronicles the Kennedy era, the swelling civil rights movement and a slew of grisly crimes. He spins a buoyant, frenetic account of educating himself in what fellow reporter Bob Woodward describes as “the genius of perpetual engagement.”
Since it was published, the book has received rave reviews. “Carl Bernstein’s Chasing History is an irresistible, beautifully written memoir, not just of Carl’s own coming of age but also of the nation’s capital at a time of momentous social and cultural change,” says Eugene Robinson, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC political commentator. “The book spans the period exactly 100 years after the Civil War years, and the epic struggle for racial justice is a major theme. Along the way we meet a host of indelible characters, including some of the greatest journalists of their generation. In a sense, Chasing History is misnamed: Bernstein captures his quarry, magnificently.”
Bernstein worked at the Star until he was 21. He then moved to The Washington Post after being denied a promotion because he didn’t have a college degree. By 28, he was teamed up with Woodward to cover a third-rate burglary that turned out to be one of the biggest stories of the 20th Century—the Watergate scandal.
Woodward and Bernstein’s investigative reporting led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, set new standards for journalism and won the Pulitzer Prize. The pair went on to write two classic best-sellers: All the President’s Men about their coverage of Watergate and The Final Days, chronicling the end of the Nixon presidency.
Bernstein’s other best-selling books include Loyalties: a Son’s Memoir, about his family’s experiences in the McCarthy era, and His Holiness: Pope John Paul II and The History of Our Time, a biography of Pope John Paul II, co-authored with Marco Politi, that reveals the Pope’s pivotal role in the fall of communism. He is also the author of the national best-seller A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham, acclaimed as the definitive biography of the subject. His articles have appeared in Time, USA Today, Rolling Stone and The New Republic. From 1999-2001, Bernstein served as editor and executive vice president of Voter.com, a pioneering website that Forbes named the best political site on the internet. He has also worked as Washington bureau chief and correspondent for ABC News. He is currently an on-air political analyst for CNN and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair magazine.