This is the second installment in Kalb’s personal story which he aptly calls “a long letter home after an unforgettable personal adventure,” the author moves forward from his time as a young diplomatic attaché at the American Embassy in Moscow in 1956. A year later, he was hired by Edward R. Murrow to work at CBS News headquarters, and in 1960, he landed his dream job as a Moscow correspondent for the network. Kalb engagingly narrates his remarkable journey, from a doctoral student Assignment Russia history at Harvard to the author and CBS Moscow correspondent in just a few years.
As part of Murrow’s devoted “band of brothers,” Kalb was set on a fast-track ascent through the ranks, and he distinguished himself with his unique expertise on Assignment Russia politics at a time of daily perilous news from Cold War Moscow.
Though he did not know how to write a radio newscast when he first arrived at the empty CBS newsroom on Madison Avenue, Kalb was a fast, eager learner, and he quickly made himself indispensable. It wasn’t long before he was contributing commentary for Blair Clark on the news roundup The World Tonight and then for Murrow himself on his national newscast.
In addition to his entertaining personal story, including his burgeoning relationship with his wife and his diligent work in producing his first book, Kalb’s in-the-moment narrative provides an illuminating snapshot of such early newsroom characters as William Shirer, Dallas Townsend, Walter Cronkite, Charles Kuralt, Lowell Thomas, and Howard K. Smith, among many others.
Kalb’s fond, generous memoir, which vividly delineates a bygone era of early journalism, will appeal to students of 20th-century American history as well as aspiring broadcast journalists. The author was involved in many significant Cold War moments, and he brings us directly into that world. Hopefully, Kalb is back at his desk; readers will be eager for the next volume. The Weekender