Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and my employment by the conservative rabble-rousers of Fox News—and, more recently, with the coming of the Age of Trump—my professional life has been even more difficult to define. How could a sincerely progressive native-born Jew-Rican New Yorker like me ever work for an outfit better suited to the vibes of Orange County, California, the Dixie, Appalachia, or the Mountain West? How could I not condemn and obstruct a wrecking ball like Donald Trump?
Over five decades, I have met most of the era’s good and bad guys, from Ronald Reagan to Charles Manson, Fidel Castro to Yasser Arafat, Muhammad Ali to John Lennon, and Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson. Two figure heavily in this book, both longtime friends: Roger Ailes, the disgraced yet undeniably brilliant creator of Fox News; and Donald Trump, once a flamboyant playboy, billionaire businessman, and now 45th President of the United States.
At the vigorous twilight of a long and largely improvised life lived in plain sight, I have little left to prove. Faced with a series of random chances, for better and worse, what I made of my life is what I made of those chances. Time has enlightened and humbled me.
Resisting the deadening silence of his family home in the elegant yet stiflingly safe neighborhood of Gramercy Park, nine-year-old Roger imagines himself a private eye in pursuit of criminals. With the dreamlike mystery of the city before him, he sets off alone, out into the streets of Manhattan, thrilling to a life of unsolved cases.
Six decades later, Rosenblatt finds himself again patrolling the territory of his youth: The writing class he teaches has just wrapped up, releasing him into the winter night and the very neighborhood in which he grew up. A grown man now, he investigates his own life and the life of the city as he walks, exploring the New York of the 1950s; the lives of the writers who walked these streets before him, such as Poe and Melville; the great detectives of fiction and the essence of detective work; and the monuments of his childhood, such as the New York Public Library, once the site of an immense reservoir that nourished the city with water before it nourished it with books, and the Empire State Building, which, in Rosenblatt's imagination, vibrates sympathetically with the oversize loneliness of King Kong: "If you must fall, fall from me."
As he walks, he is returned to himself, the boy detective on the case. Just as Rosenblatt invented a world for himself as a child, he creates one on this night—the writer a detective still, the chief suspect in the case of his own life, a case that discloses the shared mysteries of all our lives. A masterly evocation of the city and a meditation on memory as an act of faith, The Boy Detective treads the line between a novel and a poem, displaying a world at once dangerous and beautiful.
For twenty five years, Mary Mapes has been an award-winning television producer and reporter -- the last fifteen of them for CBS News, principally for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and 60 Minutes. She had the bedrock of respect of her peers -- in 2003 alone, she broke the story of the Abu Ghraib prison tortures (which won CBS The Peabody Award) and the existence of Strom Thurmond's illegitimate bi-racial daughter Essie Mae Washington.
But it was Dan Rather's lightning rod of a story on George W. Bush's National Guard Service that brought Mapes into an unwanted limelight. The firestorm that followed the broadcast led not only to Mapes' firing and Rather's stepping down from his anchor chair a year early, but to an unprecedented "internal" inquiry into the story -- chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.
Peopled with an historic and colorful cast of characters—from Karl Rove to Summer Redstone to John Kerry to Col. Bobby Hodges -- this groundbreaking book about how the television news is made (and unmade) made headlines itself when first published. But this, it turns out, is only part of the story. Mapes talks for the first time about the riveting behind-the-scenes action at CBS during this frenzied period and exposes some of the largest political and social controversies that have broken in this new age of dissonance.
Truth and Duty was made into the 2015 film Truth, starring Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace and Elizabeth Moss.