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Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public (edition 2000)
by Ted Koppel, Michael Wilson (Photographer), Carol Devine Carson (Cover designer), Virginia Tan (Designer)
Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public by Ted Koppel
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375410775, Hardcover)The title of Ted Koppel's memoir, Off Camera: Private Thoughts Made Public, promises opinions that its author wouldn't deliver on camera, where he's been the anchor of ABC's popular Nightline program since 1980. And, indeed, he's blistering at times in this book, which is essentially a daily journal from 1999. That year began between President Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives and his trial in the Senate. Here's Koppel delivering his prognosis of the situation: "Whichever way it goes, it will leave a nasty aftertaste. The President and First Lady will speak piously of national reconciliation, while their loyalists ram the rockets' red glare up the tailpipes of the right-wing fanatics, who have confused low morals with high crimes." Koppel's comments are not always so interesting, but he's reliably candid. He mentions that Jordan's late King Hussein "had his share of adulterous relationships," that Dan Quayle "is not stupid. He is also likable. But you would feel uncomfortable serving under him in a platoon," and that Henry Hyde once informed him privately that "he was incontinent following his prostate surgery."
There's no particular theme to the book; these pages simply collect the thoughts of an important newsman during the course of a year (whose noteworthy events included not just the Clinton trial but also NATO's war with Serbia). Sometimes they're pompous: "I'm off for a meeting with Bill Bradley. It's at his request, which is a clear signal that he's running for the presidency." Sometimes they're funny: "Let's combine all the awards ceremonies for the communications and entertainment industries and name that one event after the single piece of equipment used by all of us--the microphone. I suggest calling the occasion 'the Phonies.'" Koppel is occasionally offbeat, as when he compares George W. Bush to Vanna White, and often informative, as when he's recommending books like Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden or Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (which he once gave as a gift to Clinton). Off Camera is an eclectic package of thoughts and diversions that will by turns intrigue, frustrate, and entertain readers. --John J. Miller
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:10 -0400)
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