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Nearly 15 years since first hitting shelves, Barbara Walters’ hit memoir is once again topping bestseller lists following the beloved journalist’s death last week. In the 2008 book, titled “The Audition: A Memoir,” Walters, who was 79 years old at the time she wrote it, recounts some of the most formative years of her life. She starts off with stories from growing up in Miami Beach, including personal details about a slew of friendships and relationships before, of course, delving into her extraordinary career that saw her become the first female host of “Today” and then the first female co-anchor of the evening news in 1976.
“Young people starting out in television sometimes say to me: ‘I want to be you,’ Walters wrote in the prologue. “My stock reply is always: ‘Then you have to take the whole package.'”
Throughout the 628-page book, readers find out what exactly Walters meant by the “whole package.” She wrote about interviewing heads of state, celebrities, murderers, royalty and presidents throughout her 50-plus year career. One aspect of Walters’ “whole package” was an unrelenting competitiveness that is inarguably a large part of her success. One of Walters’ proudest moments, that she wrote about in the memoir, was when she went head to head with Walter Cronkite in securing interviews with Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin in 1977. Her ABC segment went live just minutes before Cronkite’s story but she managed to get bits of news that Cronkite hadn’t. This would become par for the course throughout Walters’ career.
The book also touched on her experiences on “The View,” which she launched in 1997 was credited with bringing politics and hard news to daytime television, as well as making it acceptable for news anchors to express their opinions. However, if you’re looking for an even more comprehensive look into the “The View,” you’ll want to get your hands on 2019’s “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of the View,” written by Variety co-editor-in-chief Ramin Setoodeh. His interview with Walters for the book, which he conducted in 2015, ended up being the last interview she ever gave.
In the meantime, celebrate Walters’ legacy through her bestselling memoir below.