cover image This Country: My Life in Politics and History

This Country: My Life in Politics and History

Chris Matthews. Simon and Schuster, $28.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-9821-3484-6

Former Hardball host Matthews (Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit) delivers an earnest yet disappointing account of his life and political views. Raised in an Irish-American family in Philadelphia, Matthews supported Barry Goldwater in the early 1960s, but the Vietnam War and Goldwater’s objection to the 1964 Civil Rights Act pushed his political allegiances to the left. After college, Matthews joined the Peace Corps, working in Swaziland to assist in that country’s economic development. He returned to the U.S. in 1971 and took a job answering constituent mail for Utah senator Frank Moss. A quixotic congressional campaign followed, and then a role in the Carter administration as a speechwriter. Matthews’s most influential government perch came as a top aide to House Speaker Tip O’Neill during the Reagan administration. After leaving public service, he reported for the San Francisco Examiner before landing his first TV show in 1993. Matthews sketches some of his journalistic regrets, including his outspoken support for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election, and apologies for the sexist remarks that led to his departure from MSNBC in 2020, but he doesn’t fully reckon with today’s hot-button political issues or his contributions to the partisan media landscape. This breezy autobiography won’t win Matthews many new fans. (June)