cover image SOMEBODY'S GOTTA TELL IT! The Upbeat Memoir of a Working-Class Journalist

SOMEBODY'S GOTTA TELL IT! The Upbeat Memoir of a Working-Class Journalist

Jack Newfield, . . St. Martin's, $25.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-312-26900-5

New York Post writer Newfield's life story could easily seem like a cliché: a blue-collar boy grows up in Dodgers-era Brooklyn, attends public school and the tuition-free City University, rallies with civil rights heroes in the 1960s and '70s and slugs his way up the ladder to become a reporter who works for everyman. And though some elitists might dismiss this autobiography as hackneyed, others will be enraptured by Newfield's honest recounting of his worthy contribution to American journalism. In straight-ahead, journalistic prose, Newfield recalls his childhood in New York City, citing experiences that will resonate with many readers: fearing the street gangs that ruled the lunchroom; the enormous impact of Jackie Robinson; reading Murray Kempton's columns on Martin Luther King Jr. in the then-liberal New York Post. Newfield then moves on to his college career, explaining why he became a journalist (as it did for Gay Talese and others, it was reading Jimmy Cannon's sentimental pieces in the Post) and describing his mentor, another champion of the underdog, Michael Harrington. Newfield chronicles his experiences with Students for a Democratic Society in the early '60s, regrets his decision not to speak out against the pro-drug stories at the Village Voice, where he wrote for years, and tells readers what it was like to be a 28-year-old writing a biography of Robert Kennedy. Throughout, his wide-eyed enthusiasm prevails, while his conscious understanding of a journalist's responsibility inspires. This memoir serves as a tribute to New Yorkers and reporters alike. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr. 16)

Forecast:This will certainly get big play in the Big Apple, where fellow Brooklynites, former '60s activists and persistent liberals will look for it.