cover image Between You and Me: A Memoir

Between You and Me: A Memoir

Mike Wallace, , with Gary Paul Gates. . Hyperion, $25.95 (292pp) ISBN 978-1-4013-0029-6

In this tepid memoir, the 60 Minutes grand inquisitor appears rather manipulative, turning on a dime from unctuous insinuation to prosecutorial grilling, always searching for the point of emotional revelation when his subject weeps, rants or flounders in self-incriminating panic. Wallace includes many transcripts of such moments from his 50-year interviewing career, but with a few exceptions—a breakdown by JFK bodyguard Clint Hill, Norman Mailer calling Eisenhower a "bit of a woman"—they feel flat on the page, couched as they are in rambling, repetitive conversational prose (readers may find the accompanying DVD of broadcast highlights—not seen by PW —somewhat livelier). Stripped of televisual aura, the transcripts also reveal the paucity of hard information Wallace uncovers; often, the interviews are more like theatrical showcases for the behind-the-scenes grunt work of journalistic fact-finding. Wallace himself seems to have learned little from it, to judge by his background commentary, which consists mainly of historical glosses interwoven with usually friendly (or adulatory) personal reminiscences of famous interviewees. Wallace does offer intriguing, if defensive, accounts of journalistic crises like CBS's censoring of a 60 Minutes interview with tobacco whistle-blower Jeffrey Wigand. Otherwise, the book is a dull and not illuminating read. Agent, Bill Adler . (Nov. 1)