Sunday, January 3, 2010

Halberstam's The Powers That Be

The Powers That Be The Powers That Be by David Halberstam

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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 smaller font)? Well, I watched a special on PBS about the Chandlers of The Los Angeles Times, during which Halberstam is often quoted, and I was interested in reading more about the Chandlers.

I think it took me over a month to get through, but I am glad I did. Essentially the book begins in the FDR era and ends with President Nixon and Watergate. It was amazing to read how Time Inc., CBS, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times played such a large role in shaping America. This is by no means a light, uplifting read. In fact, when I think about all that these media giants did and the influence they had, it makes me a little scared, and I begin to see where all the conspiracy theory comes from. Yikes.

At any rate, this is a great book for anyone who loves history.

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