Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Conversations with History Blog

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See also the 2005 interview
with Haynes Johnson

Capturing Our Times through History and Journalism: Conversation with Haynes Johnson, journalist and writer, 1/31/02 by Harry Kreisler.

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Haynes Johnson, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, best-selling author, and television commentator. book coverHe is the author of numerous books, and has just published The Best of Times: America in the Clinton Era.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... importance of reading ... deciding to be writer ... interest in history ... storytelling in the family ... education ... father and son Pulitzer Prizewinners ... On the Waterfront ... winning the Pulitzer for reporting on the Civil Rights movement
  2. Being a Writer ... self-discipline ... writing as a craft ... value of experience as editor... research ... telling the story ... the Clinton/Lewinsky story
  3. Writing about U.S. Presidents ... fitting the leaders into their times ... the tragedy of Clinton ... early acquaintance with Clinton ... decline in the quality of leadership ... loss of trust ... comparing Clinton and Reagan ... comparing Nixon and Johnson ... international engagement and presidential leadership ... aftermath of 9/ll
  4. Advice to Students ... filtering information ... understanding history

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