Author: Larry King
Publisher: Weinstein Books
ISBN: 976-1-60286-161-9


American television and radio host, Larry King began his broadcast and journalism career in the 1950s in Florida.  On June 29, 2010 his Larry King Live show on CNN that had aired for twenty-five years ended to become the longest-running show with the same host at the same time on the same network in the history of television. 

King begins his most recent entertaining tome, Truth Be Told reminiscing how quickly time has passed from running down the streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn until his announcement that he was retiring from his television show Larry King Live.  He confides that it was difficult at first to accept his decision, after all, here was a host that probably interviewed the most well-known personalities and leading figures of his time including Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Lenny Bruce, Jerry Seinfeld, and far too many more to list here. CNN claimed during King's final episode that he had performed 60,000 interviews in his career.  Although, as King admits, there have been some individuals whom he would have liked to have interviewed such as Fidel Castro, Prince Charles, The Pope, and Bernie Madoff.

King ponders about such topics as movies, music, crime, broadcasting, politics, the Middle East, getting and giving, his replacement and his final show which he spices up with little anecdotes and some humor thrown in to maintain the reader's interest.      

The most absorbing part of the book is King's candid comments concerning some other well-known television hosts. According to him,  Glenn Beck is a total circus and he doesn't buy his act. When describing  Bill O'Reilly, King states that “he brings on a guest with little intention of listening to that person's point of view. The guest is merely a prop for O'Reilly to sound off. It's all become theater.”  On the other hand, when he thinks about brilliance in broadcasting, he believes Edward R. Murrow was difficult to match, particularly when he ended Senator McCarthy's Communist witch hunt with one of the
most outstanding broadcasts of all times. King states that Murrow didn't harangue. He let McCarthy hang himself with his own words. That according to King is balance.

As for himself, King informs us that he never began a show with an agenda. If one of his superiors asked him to yell at a guest, he would not do it. As he declares, “The fundamentals that I brought to my show may be out of vogue, but I'm mot going to change. I don't offer a point of view. I try not to use the word I.  I ask all sorts of questions. My motto is: I've never learned anything while I was talking.” This just about sums up what Larry King was all about. It should be noted, as King mentions, nobody ever pressured him for ratings at CNN as his producer protected him and if he had a choice he would have done the show the way Charlie Rose does his PBS broadcast whom he believes has the best job in television interviewing. I would tend to agree with King when he says Rose's show has no commercials, he can book any guest he wants and he is not driven by ratings. However, that is public broadcasting and King had to play on a different field.

King is also known for his philanthropy and we learn something about the  Larry King Cardiac Foundation.  He has also been recognized with many awards including  two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards.

Truth Be Told brings a television era to vivid and touching life that certainly will be of interest to television buffs. Incidentally, its subtitle Off the Record about Favorite Guests, Memorable Moments, Funniest Jokes, and a Half Century of Asking Questions aptly sums up what the book is all about.


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