There are two books I’ve recently read you might enjoy. They could not be any more different!
I saw Peter Bergen talking about “Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden–from 9/11 to Abbottabad” on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.¹” Bergen was full of details and full of passion. I made up my mind to read it on-the-spot.
It is the story of Osama bin Laden’s life and death in the years following 9/11. It is non-fiction which reads like fiction, especially the detailed recounting of the raid on Abbottabad.
It is well researched with a citation for every reference. You don’t read that part, but it’s reassuring to know its there so Bergen’s work can be checked.
Littlefield was there as NBC exploded in the ratings during the “Must See TV” era. It’s a team sport, but he deserves lots of credit. I knew all the shows, recognized all the names and even know one of the major players in the book pretty well.
Instead of Littlefield’s writing the story is told as an oral history, quoting the people who were there. That works well, especially when a story is told by interweaving multiple remembrances.
Don Ohlmeyer, Littlefield’s boss, gets trashed! How badly? Here’s what I wrote my friend.
Obviously Ohlmeyer is savaged! There are lots of a**holes in Hollywood. However, in this book he had the corner on the a**hole market. Did he deserve that portrayal or is some of that because he canned Warren in a shi**y way?²
Jeff Zucker who replaced Littlefield gets a similar ‘spawn of the Devil’ portrayal.
Littlefield is most deferential to ‘creatives’–people like director Jimmy (James) Burrows who comes off wise and saintly. However, Littlefield is gentlest and most dfferential to Littlefield!
I asked my friend (who was there), “Was there really that kind of continual attention to quality?” That’s the sale Littlefield tries to make.
In spite of its shortcomings I found “Top of the Rock” a satisfying read for the same reason I enjoyed “Manhunt.” It’s a subject I knew a little about and which interested me and which I now know a lot more about! That’s nearly always my primary reason for reading.
I read both books on my Asus Transformer Prime tablet and was mostly satisfied with the experience. It’s easy to keep your place (though also easy to touch a place on the screen which moves you to the next page by mistake) and the type is large (and adjustable) and easy on my eyes. Unfortunately, even a lightweight table can get heavy and cumbersome over time. Often I found myself slumped over the bed while the ‘book’ was on the floor.
¹ – Is there a TV show which features more authors or sells more books than TDS? Is there an interviewer who reads more of them than Jon Stewart?
² – The original note to my friend of 50+ years was not censored. I’m never sure what to do in a case like this. You all know I do curse. You all know what I wrote. Does adding asterisks really sanitize it and make it more acceptable? Anyway, my intention was to show what I actually wrote, not upset anyone. I apologize if you were offended.