Review of Reporter: A Memoir

Reporter: A Memoir by Seymour M. Hersh

My rating: 4.1 of 5 stars

One of the predominant criticisms of this book seems to be aimed at the uneven treatment of the various stages in Hersh’s memoir. I feel that some of this criticism is genuinely aimed at his editorial decisions, and others may well stem from reactions to the content of the work or the author himself. Hersh has lived a divisive life. His writing and reporting have evoked strong reactions, both negative and positive, for the past decades. It’s what he does and what he is known for. This memoir is an opportunity for Hersh to reflect on Hersh, and it continues to divide – like any other piece of his writing. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this read – it’s personal, well told, and an honest reflection by Hersh at this stage in life. I have a sense that life is uneven that way. Emotions and perceptions are also rarely well-shaped and representing them in a uniform, or balanced fashion would abstract from the humanity that comes through. Hersh has lived a life often in the public eye but very often a lightning rod for a strong emotional response to his investigative journalism’s nature.
In fairness to Hersh, he has chased stories that fragment opinion and stand in fractious zones of contentious public opinion.
Like him, disagree with his stance, hold his opinions as challenging the national good over social or global interest. Still, the nature of good investigative journalism will not find universal appeal. Hersh indeed never has found universal appeal. Nonetheless, his frank and honest discussion of his approaches and experiences make for a fascinating read and a useful backstory to his other published works.

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