In This Review

The Times of My Life and My Life with The Times
The Times of My Life and My Life with The Times
By Max Frankel
Random House, 1999, 546 pp

Frankel's career at The New York Times began in his college days at Columbia and ended with his retirement nearly 50 years later as the paper's executive editor. After reporting from Moscow in the late 1950s, he became a potent name covering Washington. Starting with a fascinating account of his family's escape from Nazi Germany, the book is both a solid memoir and an insightful primer on the Times. The Pentagon Papers story is especially well told. Frankel is observant and quick, perhaps too quick, to judge people and policies. Despite his liberal views, Frankel never lost a healthy fear of being (in his words about another reporter) "one of those good people who cling to bad thoughts because good thinking had been preempted by bad people." Now disillusioned by Washington, Frankel expresses unease and sometimes bitterness about his calling and criticizes journalism's weak grasp of history. Among the rare reflections about the public figures he knew, Lyndon Johnson gets some consideration, but it is interesting that Frankel's most sympathetic portrait is that of Nikita Khrushchev, wishful dictator.