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Guest For TUESDAY MAY 18, 2010

                               SEYMOUR  TOPPING

  

               Former Managing Editor Hew York Time

                                         Author:

             

     "On the Front Lines of the Cold War - An American

    Correspondence's Journal from the Chinese War to

             the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam"

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The program can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaySUrba7zw - SEYMOUR TOPPING

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More about: SEYMOUR TOPPING and :"On The Front Lines of the Cold War - An American Correspondence's Journal for the Chinese War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam"

Seymour Topping has had a varied career as foreign correspondent, newspaper editor, university professor and author. From November 1993 to July 2002 Topping served as Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes at Columbia University. Concurrently, he held a chair as SanPaolo Professor of International Journalism in the Graduate School of Journalism where he conducted seminars to prepare reporters for work abroad in crisis areas. He inaugurated the course Covering Ethic and Regional Conflicts. He retired from regular teaching in July 2002 to devote more time to writing and is now SanPaolo Professor Emeritus of International Journalism at Columbia University. In October 2004, Topping was elected president at Columbia University of the fellowship Emeritus Professors in Columbia (EPIC) He has continued to lecture on occasion at various universities in the United States and in China. Prior to his career at Columbia University, Topping was with The New York Times Company for 34 years as Chief correspondent in Moscow for three years and Southeast Asia for three years, foreign editor, and managing editor for ten years. He served subsequently as Director of Editorial Development, responsible for the editorial quality of The Times' 32 regional newspapers. In 1959, when Seymour Topping joined The Times, he already had 13 years' experience as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press. He covered the Chinese Civil War for three years and was the first correspondent to report the fall of Nanking, Chiang Kai-shek's capital, to the Communists. In February 1950, he opened the AP bureau in Saigon and stayed to cover the French Indochina War for two years. He then went on to posts for the agency in London as diplomatic correspondent and Berlin as bureau chief. Topping was born in New York on Dec. 11, 1921. During World War II, he served as an army officer in the Pacific. He is a graduate of the University School of Journalism, class of 1943. He received the School's Distinguished Service Award in Journalism in 1968 and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993. Topping also holds an honorary doctor of letters from Rider College, Lawrenceville, N.J. In 2002 The Center for International Journalists presented jointly to him and his wife, Audrey, a photojournalist, author and documentary film maker, the first annual Greenway-Winship Award for service to international journalism. In 1992-93 Topping served as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Currently, he is a member of the boards of the American committee of the International Press Institute and the Advisory Board of the International Center for Journalists. He is also member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society, and the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and of the Century Association. Topping is the author of Journey Between Two Chinas, published in 1972 by Harper & Row and The Peking Letter, A Novel of the Chinese Civil War published in 1999 by PublicAffairs, and Fatal Crossroads, a Novel of Vietnam 1945, published by EastBridge in January 2005. His most recent book: "On The Front Lines of the Cold War - An American Correspondence's Journal for the Chinese War to the Cuban Missile Crisis to Vietnam" 2010

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the years following World War II, the United States suffered its most severe military and diplomatic reverses in Asia while Mao Zedong laid the foundation for the emergence of China as a major economic and military world power. As a correspondent for the International News Service, the Associated Press, and later for the New York Times, Seymour Topping documented on the ground the tumultuous events during the Chinese Civil War, the French Indochina War, and the American retreat from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In this riveting narrative, Topping chronicles his extraordinary experiences covering the East-West struggle in Asia and Eastern Europe from 1946 into the 1980s, taking us beyond conventional historical accounts to provide a fresh, first-hand perspective on American triumphs and defeats during the Cold War era.

At the close of World War II, Topping--who had served as an infantry officer in the Pacific--reported for the International News Service from Beijing and Mao's Yenan stronghold before joining the Associated Press in Nanking, Chiang Kai-shek's capital. He covered the Chinese Civil War for the next three years, often interviewing Nationalist and Communist commanders in combat zones. Crossing Nationalist lines, Topping was captured by Communist guerrillas and tramped for days over battlefields to reach the People's Liberation Army as it advanced on Nanking. The sole correspondent on the battlefield during the decisive Battle of the Huai-Hai, which sealed Mao's victory, Topping later scored a world-wide exclusive as the first journalist to report the fall of the capital.

In 1950, Topping opened the Associated Press bureau in Saigon, becoming the first American correspondent in Vietnam. In 1951, John F. Kennedy, then a young congressman on a fact-finding visit to Saigon, sought out Topping for a briefing. Assignments in London and West Berlin followed, then Moscow and Hong Kong for the New York Times. During those years Topping reported on the Chinese intervention in the Korean conflict, Mao's Cultural Revolution and its preceding internal power struggle, the Chinese leader's monumental ideological split with Nikita Khrushchev, the French Indochina War, America's Vietnam War, and the genocides in Cambodia and Indonesia. He stood in the Kremlin with a vodka-tilting Khrushchev on the night the Cuban missile crisis ended and interviewed Fidel Castro in Havana on its aftermath.

Throughout this captivating chronicle, Topping also relates the story of his marriage to Audrey Ronning, a world-renowned photojournalist and writer and daughter of the Canadian ambassador to China. As the couple traveled from post to post reporting on some of the biggest stories of the century in Asia and Eastern Europe, they raised five daughters. In an epilogue, Topping cites lessons to be learned from the Asia wars which could serve as useful guides for American policymakers in dealing with present-day conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From China to Indochina, Burma to Korea and beyond, Topping did more than report the news; he became involved in international diplomacy, enabling him to gain extraordinary insights.

In On the Front Lines of the Cold War, Topping shares these insights, providing an invaluable eyewitness account of some of the pivotal moments in modern history.<P>

 

About the Author

Seymour Topping retired from the New York Times in 1993. He served until 2002 as a professor of international journalism at Columbia University and administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes. Now professor emeritus, he lectures in the United States and China, where he heads the International Advisory Board of Tsinghua University. His previous books include Journey Between Two Chinas, The Peking Letter: A Novel of the Chinese Civil War, and Fatal Crossroads: A Novel of Vietnam 1945.
 

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807135569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807135563
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon.com Sales Rank: #534,195 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)

     

     

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

Review: Former New York Times editor Seymour Topping leaves nothing out in his memoir

By: RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press
03/22/10 5:20 AM PDT


"On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's Journal From the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam" (LSU, 397 pages, $39.95), by Seymour Topping: A former editor of The New York Times sits down to write his memoir and the title alone runs 24 words. But what else, one might ask, was a reporter with Topping's breadth and depth of experience to do?

Topping, who retired as managing editor of the Times in 1987, needed a lot of words for a long-awaited personal account of the 4 1/2 decades he spent holding hands with history.

As suggested by the basic title, "On the Front Lines of the Cold War," Topping or "Top," as he is known to longtime associates was a witness to some of the most crucial events of the last half of the 20th century.

And not just a witness. At times he was so close to the events, leaders and others in the arena, he was virtually there himself, though conscious of the need to maintain the critical distance between himself and those he was covering.

Indeed, Topping describes being invited to sit in on one meeting of high-level administration officials, only to have them, at the end, turn to him for his views.

Over the years, Topping came in direct contact with Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Nikita Khruschev and Fidel Castro, along with soldiers, spies, diplomats, authors and fellow journalists.

While getting it all down for spot news dispatches, he clearly kept posterity in mind. Judging by the detail densely packed into 397 pages, he filed stories from every exotic dateline and never threw away a notebook.

Especially interesting is Topping's tale of being sent by his then-employer, The Associated Press, to become the first American correspondent based in French Indochina after World War II. Minutes after he and his wife, Audrey, arrived in Saigon in February 1950, a terrorist bomb exploded outside their hotel, killing and wounding dozens of French colonial soldiers.

The following year, Topping covered the arrival of a young U.S Congressman on a "study tour" visit. At the airport, the visitor asked to meet with Topping and the next day, John F. Kennedy climbed the stairs to the Toppings' small apartment, "seated himself in an easy chair near the bamboo bar" and peppered Topping with two hours of questions about "every aspect of the Vietnam conflict."

No one could imagine the visit would have a "profound impact" on U.S. policy in Indochina, Topping says; that a decade later, JFK as president would order 400 military advisers to help the shaky South Vietnamese regime fight a communist takeover.

Topping's writing conveys a passion for his craft, but his scrupulous concern for the minutiae of events might intimidate readers looking for a fast, exciting read. Even so, the book is a feast for students of history who want to know not just how things turned out, but also how it actually happened.

Born in the Bronx section of New York and seasoned as an infantry officer in World War II, Topping joined the Hearst-owned International News Service in China, jumped to the steadier AP there, and ultimately wound up as managing editor of The New York Times.

After his final departure from the Times in 1993, he taught journalism at Columbia University and served as its administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

There's plenty here for students of journalism history, including courtly accounts of the executive suite and newsroom intrigues for which the Times is noted, and such memorable controversies as Timesman Harrison Salisbury's disputed reports from Hanoi in late 1966 and the Pentagon Papers in 1971 both of which happened on Topping's watch as foreign editor.

At the end, Topping summarizes the failure of American policy not only in Vietnam but also, in his view, just about everywhere.

This gloomy record is one of "flawed government handling of national security issues" by successive administrations from Harry Truman to George W. Bush, he writes.

But he wraps it all up with a hopeful prediction: that today's financially beleaguered newspapers will meet the challenges of the digital age "if they retain the courage and quality of journalism" that made organizations such as the Times, The Washington Post



Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/review-former-new-york-times-editor-seymour-topping-leaves-nothing-out-in-his-memoir-88810417.html#ixzz0nyrP7an5
 

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NOTE: You must adjust viewing to reflect NYC time & click on channel 34 at site

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