As the summer draws to a close the time to return the summer book reading supply is here. Having started reading two books per week in 1982 the list of titles now runs into the thousands. The book from the DC Public Library that captured the writer’s interest most this summer also led to a discovery that was previously unknown.
The title of the book is Charles Kuralt’s America that was published in 1995 when the present writer was a college professor. The book was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in New York and takes the reader on a fascinating journey with Charles Kuralt as he travels across the United States of America.
Each chapter of the books takes the reader to a new location as Kuralt interviews and socializes with people from every walk of life. His ability to associate with so many different people of different races, social classes, and economic levels is amazing and was a great contributor to his success as a journalist.
However, it was during the period of reading the book that an observer asked if the journalist knew about the scandal after Kuralt’s death at the age of 62 shortly after he resigned from CBS News. Since the knowledge of Kuralt was confined to his work as a journalist the reporter had to respond in the negative.
Placing the book aside, the writer began to research the matter as a result of the observer’s query. After weeks of reading the reports it was disclosed that after his death it was discovered that Charles Kuralt had lived two separate lives on two coasts and indeed had a family in New York and another in Montana.
At first the reports were dismissed as lies. It is difficult for a dead man to defend himself. Yet, the court records and a trial to determine who would inherit his estate led to the truth. Reading the book gave no indication that there was a major character flaw if the allegation were true. Indeed there is no way to alter or change the marriage law which makes any relationship outside of marriage impossible.
It was even more ironic that in the opening chapter of the book Kuralt writes, “It was a long, happy affair, and I was faithful. I loved CBS News ardently at first, as a boy loves a girl. (At first, I was a boy, only twenty-two when I came to work in the newsroom on Madison Avenue.) My passion tempered outwardly as the years went by, but inside the old flame burned.”
Charles Kuralt was a native of North Carolina. All journalism majors from the Carolinas looked up to the journalists who were so famous and successful that they served as living proof that it could be done. Coming from the small North and South Carolina states did not mean a journalist could not compete with the writers from the mega states and cities of America. Kuralt was a folk hero to many journalists from the Carolinas.
Charles Kuralt’s America is a good summer read. It is the perfect book to take on vacation to the beach. The chapters take the reader on his travels. After reading about his personal life there was an urge to return the book to the DC Public Library. Yet after much reflection the writer remembered sitting in the newsroom at a CBS affiliate in Oklahoma and hearing someone say, “You are from the Carolinas like Charles Kuralt. He is a great journalist.” That was in 1975 before there was a scandal. He was a great journalist and it was a great summer read.