Book Review:

Charles Kuralt, Alchemist

Reviewed by Joseph Rosenberg

Remembering Charles Kuralt

by Ralph Grizzle, Edwin M. Yoder
The Globe Pequot Press, 2001

On the front of this book there's a picture of television journalist Charles Kuralt and a photographer in a field of tall grass. Kuralt is standing, with his sunglasses perched on his nose, wearing a checked shirt slightly too small from his frame. The photographer is kneeling, and both are peering at the same thing somewhere off to the right. Kuralt is fully engaged, alert, with a small smile on his face.

I think, after reading this memoir of friends, that it is obvious this is how Charles Kuralt liked to live his life: intense and focused on creating a picture with words that we in his TV audience could embrace. Many of the reminiscences in the book point out that Kuralt found himself a niche in the world of TVa niche where some of his talents may have been wasted, but where he was comfortable until he decided to pull the plug.

A brilliant writer and reporter, Kuralt was a worthy successor to Edward R. Morrow, but never had a worn-torn London to report on to show his reporting "chops."

Mr. Grizzle carefully weaves narrative and memory to create a picture of a man who was more than an avuncular figure on the TV screen every Sunday morning. He was a man you could admire and even chat with, but not really know. He took the energy from the folks he met on the road and turned it into wisdom. There are few such alchemists on the airwaves. They should be cherished, as this book reminds us.

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This story was published on June 5, 2002.