Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts

David E. McCraw. All Points, $28.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-18442-9

McCraw, the deputy general counsel of the New York Times, recounts 17 years of defending the First Amendment and the paper’s legal integrity in this passionate memoir. Best known for a letter he wrote responding to a lawsuit threat from President Trump about a report detailing groping accusations against him from two women, McCraw colors his legalese with wit and levity. Much of the book involves the 2016 election, including the paper’s publication of a portion of Trump’s 1995 tax return (a move that McCraw reassured reporters would have no legal consequence), but also features lighter anecdotes, such as a libel suit from Beatles acquaintance “Magic Alex” about his portrayal as a “charlatan” in an obituary for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Stories including the Harvey Weinstein sexual allegations (during which McCraw reviewed early article drafts) are recounted vividly, and McCraw includes correspondence with opposing legal teams, as well as his fielding of questions from reporters, once via phone from the stands of Yankee Stadium. Laws regarding leaks, libel, and Freedom of Information Act requests are explained thoroughly, with McCraw believing “there was still something right about a system where you had a chance to stand up to your government in a court of law.” News junkies will relish the insider access. [em](Mar.) [/em]