Business Intelligence in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – #bookreview

Business Intelligence in Microsoft SharePoint 2010
By Norm Warren, Mariano Teixeira Neto,
John Campbell and Stacia Misner

(Microsoft Press, $44.99, paperback)

This useful and well-written book was created, at least in part, as a response to customer complaints about SharePoint documentation. The customers told Microsoft they needed a better sense of  “the big picture” of how business intelligence (BI) and SharePoint 2010 mesh together with BI software tools.

Business intelligence is the process of extracting important and useful information from the massive quantities and flows of information available to companies at any moment.

A stated Microsoft strategy is to “democratize” BI, to make business information and insights available to all employees of a company, so they can make “faster, more relevant decisions.”

What SharePoint 2010 does, the writers note, is to work “with SQL Server reporting and BI tools to surface BI data in meaningful ways.”

Two important focuses for “the BI stack” are “report authoring,” using Microsoft Office, PerformancePoint, Dashboard Designer, and more,  and “report viewing,” in “just about any browser,  in Microsoft Office, on Windows 7 phones, and in SharePoint Search.”

The authors state that in planning this book, “we chose not to include information about setting up all the various tools and databases—although we did include a synopsis of best practices for planning, deployment and configuration.”

A number of step-by-step processes and screen shots are included, however, to illustrate some key configurations, setups, menus, tests and examples. But frequent references to other documents also are made. And some processes are described as “beyond the scope” of the book.

The writers add that “[b]ecause this book is aimed primarily at three audiences—SharePoint administrators, business users and BI developers—we were forced to sharpen our focus and choose only the most relevant BI products from Microsoft for these audiences.”

The four highlighted products are: (1) SharePoint Excel Services; (2) SQL Server 2008 R2 PowerPivot; (3) SharePoint Visio Services; and (4) SharePoint PerformancePoint Services.

Within the BI world, there generally are two types of users: power users and casual users. Power users delve into BI almost daily and frequently “develop advanced technical skills” that help them use BI tools “to explore the data without restraint,” the authors say. Casual users, meanwhile, tend to be “department managers, executives, or even external stakeholders such as customers or suppliers” who are less skilled at using BI tools and need simple interfaces that can help them “find the information they need on their own.”

The 384-page book is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Business Intelligence in SharePoint
  • Chapter 2: Choosing the Right BI Tool
  • Chapter 3: Getting to Trusted Data
  • Chapter 4: Excel Services
  • Chapter 5: PowerPivot for Excel and SharePoint
  • Chapter 6: Visio and Visio Services
  • Chapter 7: PerformancePoint Services
  • Chapter 8: Bringing It All Together
  • Appendix A: Virtual Machine Setup and SharePoint Configuration
  • Appendix B: DAX Function Reference
  • Appending C: SharePoint as a Service—“Office 365”
  • Index (19 pages)

The book does not come with a CD, but a companion website offers interactive exercises and code samples to download.

The minimum hardware and software requirements cannot be described briefly here, because they vary, depending on whether you want to (1) use pre-configured virtual machines present in the 2010 Information Worker Demonstration and Evaluation Virtual Machine (RTM) or (2) install SharePoint 2010 software, perform the configuration procedures and create virtual machines from scratch. These options and their various choices are described in Appendix A and Appendix B.

Business Intelligence in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 can be an informative and useful guide for executives, managers, employees, suppliers and customers who must use BI on an occasional basis. If your goal is to become a BI power user, but you are just getting started, you also should look into this book.

Power users of BI may want to consider having this book, as well. You may be well-versed in one particular area or aspect of business intelligence. But business itself changes very rapidly these days, and a narrow expertise suddenly can  become less useful. You may need “the big picture,” too, to help you figure out where else to specialize, just in case.

Si Dunn

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Two Microsoft Certification Training Kits – #bookreview

In today’s tough and fiercely competitive IT job market, you never outgrow your need for certifications. Microsoft Press recently has released two self-paced training kits that you may need to study, if they apply to your areas of information technology. And you may need to keep these books close at hand in your technology library once you are certified.

The two training kits are: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (MCTS Exam 70-516) and Windows Server Enterprise Administration (MCITP Exam 70-647).

Short reviews of each book are posted below. In general, however, both are hefty, handsome and well-organized volumes that include practice tests on their accompanying CDs. The practice tests contain hundreds of questions and come with “detailed explanations for right and wrong answers.” Each of the books includes a certification exam discount coupon from Microsoft. 

Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
(MCTS Exam 70-516)
By Glenn Johnson
(Microsoft Press, $69.99)

“This training kit,” the author writes, “is designed for developers who write or support applications that access data written in C# or Visual Basic using Visual Studio 2010 and the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 and who also plan to take the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) exam 70-516.”

Before you plunge into this self-paced training kit, be sure you have “a solid foundation-level understanding of Microsoft C# or Microsoft Visual Basic and be familiar with Visual Studio 2010.”

Also, be sure your available equipment meets the minimum requirements: 2.0 GB – and preferably more – of RAM; at least 80 GB of available hard disk space; a DVD-ROM drive; and Internet access.

The software requirements are Windows 7, SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition and SQL Server 2008 Express Edition. Links are provided to download evaluation copies of Windows 7 and SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition. A link also is provided to download a full release of SQL Server 2008 Express Edition.

A “virtualized environment” can be used, rather than configuring a machine specifically for the training kit, the author states. He notes that virtualization software is available from Microsoft, Oracle andVMware.

The CD supplied with Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 includes practice tests, all of the Visual Basic and C# code samples in the book, and a “fully searchable” eBook version of the printed book.

Directions are provided for installing, using and uninstalling the practice tests.

The 647-page training kit is structured as follows:

  • Introduction
  • ADO.NET Disconnected Classes
  • ADO.NET Connected Classes
  • Introducing LINQ
  • LINQ to SQL
  • LINQ to XML
  • ADO.NET Entity Framework
  • WCF Data Services
  • Developing Reliable Applications
  • Deploying Your Application

The final sections are the Answers appendix and a detailed and apparently thorough index.

This training kit’s chapters generally contain one to three lessons, with code examples, practice exercises, plus a lesson summary and lesson review. Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 provides more than 250 practice and review questions to help you prepare for the certification exam.

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Windows Server Enterprise Administration
(MCITP Exam 70-647)
By Orin James, John Policelli, Ian McLean, J.C, Mackin, Paul Mancuso, and David R. Miller, with GrandMasters
(Microsoft Press, $69.99)

This training kit for Windows Server Enterprise Administration is intended for “enterprise administrators who have several years’ experience managing the overall IT environment and architecture of medium to large organizations.”

To run the lab exercises in this self-paced training kit, you will need at least two computers or virtual machines. One must be a server running Windows Server Enterprise 2008, and it must be configured as a domain controller. The book provides a link for obtaining an evaluation copy of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise from Microsoft’s download center. The other computer or virtual machine must run Windows Vista (Enterprise, Business or Ultimate).

“You can complete almost all practice exercises in this book using virtual machines rather than real server hardware,” the authors state. But you must be aware of the minimum hardware requirements for running Windows Server 2008:

1. Processor: 1GHz (x86), 1.4GHz (x64) – But 2GHz or faster is recommended.
2. 512MB RAM, with  2GB recommended.
3. 15 GB of disk space, with 40 GB recommended.

The book also explains how to set up networking and how to install and use (and later uninstall) the practice tests.

The 572-page Windows Server Enterprise Administration training kit is organized as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Planning Name Resolution and Internet Protocol Addressing
  • Designing Active Directory Domain Services
  • Planning Migrations, Trusts, and Interoperability
  • Designing Active Directory Administration and Group Policy Strategy
  • Designing Network Access Strategy
  • Design a Branch Office Deployment
  • Planning Terminal Services and Application Deployment
  • Server and Application Virtualization
  • Planning and Designing a Public Key Infrastructure
  • Designing Solutions for Data Sharing, Data Security, and Business Continuity

The chapters generally have two to three lessons each, as well as lesson summaries, lesson reviews, chapter reviews, chapter reviews, chapter summaries, suggested practices and a practice test.

The remaining sections of the training kit include answers to the practice tests, a somewhat modest glossary, and a hefty and well-detailed index.

The supplied CD provides more than 275 practice and review questions, a “fully searchable” eBook version of the training kit, case scenarios, best practices, and exercises. 

– Si Dunn

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Code in the Cloud: Programming Google App Engine #bookreview

Code in the Cloud: Programming Google App Engine
Mark C. Chu-Carroll
(O’Reilly, $32.95, paperback)

 “O clouds, unfold!”
          –William Blake, “Milton,” preface

These days, it’s all about the cloud, many people insist.

Somewhere out there in “the cloud” are the servers and programs that you are now using — or soon will be. Much of  your data already is out there, too, and more will be.

But where, exactly? Why, floating in “the cloud,” of course.

“You don’t know where, and more importantly, you don’t care; there’s absolutely no reason for you to care,” insists Mark C. Chu-Carroll, a Google software engineer who has worked on programming languages and software development tools for nearly 20 years.

These “don’t care” and “it’s all in the cloud” notions expressed in Chu-Carroll’s well-written new book may make many long-time computer programmers nervous. This could be particularly true if you have spent a long time working with, and trying to secure the data on, personal computers or corporate networks of computers.

In the brave, new, vaporous world of cloud computing, there are almost no boundaries anymore. And many of the limitations and weaknesses of hardware, software and security can be more easily subdued, we are told.

So, what exactly is the cloud?

At one level, it is many clouds. You can think of huge data centers with many computers as individual clouds, and each data storage device within those centers as one water droplet that helps form that cloud. As individual clouds come in contact with each other, they bunch up into one bigger cloud and cover more and more of the sky.

In Mark C. Chu-Carroll’s view, the cloud is “a revolutionary way of thinking about computing; it’s a universe of servers that you can build an application on; it’s a world of services that you can build or that you can use to build other things.”

But when should you, as a programmer, use “the cloud”?

According to the author, “You can write almost any application you want in the cloud. In fact, many people strongly believe that everything should be in the cloud — that there’s no longer any reason to develop applications for standalone computers.”

He does not completely support that view and concedes that the cloud may not be “the ideal platform for everything.” 

Yet, when programming for the cloud, you can worry a lot less about what operating system you are running, what software you have, what hardware limitations you have and when you will need to do backups or do software and security upgrades.

“If you’re a user of the cloud,” Chu-Carroll writes, you buy access to the application you want and then connect to it from anywhere.”  And, when developing for the cloud, “you break things down to basic building blocks, buy those pieces from service providers, and put them together however you want to build a system.”

The cloud likely is here to stay, and it won’t be dissipating soon, just getting bigger. So, computer programmers of all types and persuasions need to pay close attention. It likely will become an increasingly important element in hiring and in securing contract work.

Mark C. Chu-Carroll’s Code in the Cloud can give you a solid introduction to cloud computing and also get you up to speed quickly on how to program applications using the Google App Engine. It starts out at the beginner’s level using Python and the Google App Engine to create a first, simple app. Then it moves quickly to Java and advanced Google App Engine topics.

This 306-page book is a new entry in O’Reilly’s popular “The Pragmatic Programmer” series. Here is its section and chapter lineup:

Section I – Getting Started with the Google App Engine
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: Getting Started
Section II – Programming Google App Engine with Python
- Chapter 3: A First Real Cloud Application
- Chapter 4: Managing Data in the Cloud
- Chapter 5: Google App Engine Services for Login Authentication
- Chapter 6: Organizing Code: Separating UI and Logic
- Chapter 7: Making the UI Pretty: Templates and CSS
- Chapter 8: Getting Interactive
Section III – Programming Google App Engine with Java
- Chapter 9: Google App Engine and Java
- Chapter 10: Managing Server-Side Data
- Chapter 11: Building User Interfaces in Java
- Chapter 12: Building the Server Side of a Java Application
Section IV – Advanced Googe App Engine
- Chapter 13: Advanced Datastore: Property Types
- Chapter 14: Advanced Datastore: Queries and Indices
- Chapter 15: Google App Engine Services
- Chapter 16: Server Computing in the Cloud
- Chapter 17: Security in App Engine Services
- Chapter 18: Administering Your App Engine Deployment
- Chapter 19: Wrapping Up

A good index is included that enhances the book’s organization and ease of use.

Code in the Cloud does an excellent job of explaining what a cloud service is and how it is different from traditional applications. Cloud applications are easily scalable. You can program a cloud app that works only for one user on one computer. Or your app can be used by many millions of users who can access it, via the cloud, from thousands of computers. If you build applications for people who work together online, “[c]ollaboration is the cloud’s natural niche,” the author says.

Mark C. Chu-Carroll shows you: (1)  how to build applications as a cloud service; (2) how to employ the App Engine to manage persistent data in the cloud; (3) how to create dynamic and interactive user interfaces that will run in Web browers; (4) how to interact with other services available in the App Engine cloud; and (5) how to maintain and manage security in cloud-based Web applications.

With this book in your programmer’s library, you will not — to badly misquote the poet William Wordsworth — be left wandering lonely, outside the Google App Engine’s share of the cloud. 

 – Si Dunn

iPad 2: The Missing Manual (It’s here!)

iPad 2: The Missing Manual
By J.D. Biersdorfer
(O’Reilly, $24.99 US, $28.99 CAN)
Amazon link: http://amzn.to/mwXfN6

Each new addition to O’Reilly‘s “The Missing Manual” series has a telling tagllne: “The book that should have been in the box.”

Users of the iPad 2 definitely may wish they had received this book in their Apple box. It is well-organized and well-illustrated and engagingly written by J.D. Biersdorfer, the popular “Gadgetwise” columnist for the New York Times and best-selling author of several previous tech books, including: iPad: The Missing Manual; iPod: The Missing Manual; and The iPod Shuffle Fan Book: Life Is a Playlist.

Along with the iPad 2, Biersdorfer’s new book also covers the original iPad and is structured to help you locate the right buttons, connectors and Home Screen icons once you have an iPad in your hands.

“Odds are,” the author notes wryly, “you had that iPad out of its box about 5 seconds after you got it, running your hands over its smooth edges, admiring its tapered thinness and high-gloss screen.”

But, with little else to guide you, you may not know what to do first to make it work and then set it up correctly. As the O’Reilly book points out, “there’s still no printed guide to using its features” — not in the iPad 2’s box.

Yes, you can boot up your PC, go online and find iPad setup and features information. You can even print out some pages, punch some holes, and stack the paper in a three-ring binder for future reference. But why bother? This book is an excellent, convenient and affordable guide to everything you need to know to become adept at using and enjoying your iPad 2.

Early on, it covers mastering iTunes, “your iPad’s best friend. You can do just about everything with your digital media here….”

The book also shows you how to find, buy, download, use, troubleshoot and uninstall apps.

Some of the other “important stuff” it covers includes:

1. Building your media library, by filling your iPad with music, ebooks, movies, photos, TV shows and other materials.

2. Using the iPad 2’s new still camera, video camera and Photo Booth app to create your own media projects.

3. Getting online and surfing via wi-fi or wi-fi + 3G.

4. Making video calls using the iPad 2’s video cameras and FaceTime app.

5.  Sending and receiving email messages using any of your email accounts.

6. Discovering iPad tricks and workarounds for problems or limitations.

All in all, this is a fine, comforting and informative guide for new iPad users. Along with smooth writing, step-by-step procedures  and logical structure, it also has a good index and numerous illustrations and screen shots.

Those who have owned the popular tablets for a while likely can also find some new tricks and helpful information in O’Reilly’s iPad 2: The Missing Manual by J.D. Biersdorfer.

The book is available in paperback and Kindle editions. O’Reilly also offers it via Safari Books Online

Si Dunn

Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal

 Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
By James D. Hornfischer
(Bantam Books, $30.00)
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/giTclq
Kindle Link: http://amzn.to/fKzayj

Guadalcanal typically is remembered as a small Pacific island where U.S. Marines stayed locked in savage combat for months with tenacious, desperate Japanese defenders during World War II. U.S. Army troops, however, also fought heroically in the battle for Guadalcanal, which stretched from Aug. 7, 1942, to Feb. 9, 1943.

But as military historian James D. Hornfischer makes starkly clear in his new book Neptune’s Inferno, the U.S. Navy actually bore the biggest brunt of the fighting. The Navy also made the greatest sacrifices during the protracted campaign that is now remembered as a turning point in the Pacific theater of the war. 

“When it was all said and done at Guadalcanal,” Hornfischer notes in his book, “three sailors would die at sea for every infantryman who fell ashore.”

Much of the fighting focused on Guadalcanal’s airfield, which could be used to threaten or protect key sea lanes between the United States, Australia and New Zealand. U.S. Marines seized the airfield and part of the island in a surprise landing that drove Japanese defenders inland.

During the next six months, seven major sea battles ensued as the Imperial Japanese Navy attempted to destroy American planes and reinforce Guadalcanal’s Japanese troops, so they could retake the airfield.

Five of the encounters were fearsome, grinding night clashes. And, more than once, American ships blasted each other, as well as enemy warships, in the chaotic darkness. In the two daylight battles, carrier-based and land-based aircraft ultimately won the day for the Allies.

The toll of ships, men and aircraft was horrific on both sides. As Hornfischer makes grimly clear, torpedoes and shells ripped through hulls and thick armor plates and ended dozens or even hundreds of lives in an instant. The U.S. Navy lost 25 major warships, including two aircraft carriers and several cruisers and destroyers, as well as numerous smaller vessels. Australia’s losses included its heavy cruiser Canberra. Japanese ship losses included an aircraft carrier, two battleships, several cruisers and other vessels, including six submarines.

Thousands of Allied and Japanese sailors and officers died, and hundreds of planes were shot down. Meanwhile, Guadalcanal’s Japanese defenders never retook the airfield. Instead, their counterattacks were repulsed, and they suffered massive casualties from air assaults, naval gunfire and Marine and Army ground attacks.

Much of Hornfischer’s book focuses on officers and crews of individual battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers and destroyers, recounting how they veered into combat, absorbed savage hits and valiantly kept fighting and struggling to stay afloat. But he also zeroes in on the strategies, indecisions, failures and heroics of task force commanders and ship captains.

“The campaign,” he writes, “featured tight interdependence among warriors of the air, land, and sea.” Yet that interdependence was tenuous and troubled at best. Lives and ships were lost because of inter-service rivalries, jealousies and stubborn attitudes among key admirals and generals.

Some American warship captains made efficient use of a new technology, radar, while others failed to embrace its early-warning capabilities, with fatal consequences.

Another vital technology, radio, also was not used effectively. Ships, aircraft and ground units frequently could not communicate with each other. And important alerts often were delayed, misrouted or ignored.

Neptune’s Inferno is well written, rich with scene-setting details and very clearly the product of extensive research, as well as interviews with some of the battle’s now-aged survivors.

The author’s two previous WWII books, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Ship of Ghosts, brought him into the major leagues of American military history writers. Neptune’s Inferno is solid proof that he deserves to be there.

Si Dunn

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Lone Star Noir: Deep in the (Dark) Heart of Texas

 Fans of noir fiction prefer their stories dark and gritty.

They relish harsh tales told from troubled viewpoints: crime victims, serial killers, suspects, witnesses.

A private eye may be snooping around somewhere nearby. But cops and sheriff’s deputies are not yet on the scene. A terrible act central to the story is just about to be discovered. Or it is just minutes away from happening.

Lone Star Noir fits this story pattern almost perfectly. Fourteen hardboiled short stories, set deep in the darkest heart of Texas, take the book’s readers to life’s ragged edges. You move along grim roads leading “to the tail end of everything,” to places where “a plain bare bulb swings overhead, casting a dizzying light,” and into the company of people who understand “guns and dope and greed and hatred and delusion…” probably better than they understand anything else.

Published by Akashic Books, Lone Star Noir is edited by Bobby Byrd and Johnny Byrd, the co-publishers of Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso.

The book cuts the state into three regions: Gulf Coast Texas, Back Roads Texas, and Big City Texas. Each region in the book, of course, has its own flair for sinister settings.

The stories are new, and most of the 15 writers (one story has two authors) have some kind of connections to the Lone Star State, which Bobby Byrd contends “bleeds noir fiction.”

A cautionary notice: Lone Star Noir is alive with raw language and murderous events. It is definitely not for the easily offended, nor the faint of heart.

Noir fiction can bring you face to face with people you would never want to meet, nor be. And it reminds readers how humanity’s darkest possibilities lie just beneath everyday life’s thin veneer.

Lisa Sandlin’s short story “Phelan’s First Case” focuses on a rookie Beaumont private detective who tries to solve a missing-person mystery in the gloomy Big Thicket north of Houston. Meanwhile, another mystery that could get somebody killed starts unfolding back at his office while he is away.

In “Bottomed Out,” Dean James’ gruesome tale, a Dallas company’s German “troubleshooter” gets a manager fired but also frames him for another employee’s murder.

And Jessica Powers’ short story “Preacher’s Kid” takes the reader inside the mind of a West Texas preacher. He tries and fails to stop his son from drinking, but he has to confront a much deeper and more painful truth about his family.

Akashic Books started its original noir anthology series in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Since then, approximately 40 noir story collections have been published, ranging from Chicago Noir to Paris Noir and Wall Street Noir. More are scheduled, including Cape Cod Noir and Pittsburgh Noir.

According to Bobby Byrd, many people arrive in Texas expecting to see J.R. Ewing or Larry McMurtry characters lurking behind every oil rig and cattle herd.

“The real Texas,” he insists, “hides out in towns and cities like you’ll find in Lone Star Noir.

Maybe, maybe not. In any case, it is infinitely safer to read the book and not go looking for proof — and trouble — at the end of dark Texas roads.

Si Dunn

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The Walter Cronkite You Never Knew

One day about 40 years ago, I almost met Walter Cronkite. I was supposed to receive a news photography award from a state journalism organization. The famous broadcaster was supposed to hand the plaque and check to me and shake my hand. Then he would have dinner with me and the other winners of coveted journalism awards.

But, a few months earlier, I had quit the newspaper where I had taken the award-winning photo. I was now a graduate student, and I was too broke to rent a tuxedo for the presentation ceremony and too broke also to risk driving my wornout car 250 miles to shake Cronkite’s hand. Furthermore, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to quit being a photographer and focus exclusively on writing.

So, I didn’t go. Someone from the newspaper accepted the award on my behalf, added the plaque to an awards wall intended to impress the newspaper’s visitors, and mailed me the check, along with a matching bonus.

For  years afterward, I felt bad that I missed getting to meet Walter Cronkite. But a new book, Conversations with Cronkite by Walter Cronkite and Don Carleton, adds up to much more than a quick handshake and a brief dinner chat. It is like getting to sit and listen to dozens of enjoyable, spirited chats.

It isn’t likely anytime soon that another journalist will be hailed as “the most trusted man in America.”

Before his death in 2009, Walter Cronkite wore that weighty mantle “exceedingly lightly,” writes his friend and CBS News colleague Morley Safer , in the foreword to this revealing and entertaining collection of conversations between the famed broadcaster and Don Carleton, director of the University of Texas at Austin‘s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Out of the media spotlight, Cronkite “could be as ornery and petty and vain as the rest of us,” Safer adds, “but also a man by nature who could be relied upon to always do the right thing.”

In conversations initially recorded for his 1996 memoir, A Reporter’s Life, Cronkite said he studied journalism at UT in the 1930s, but missed many classes and was “a terrible student.” He finally dropped out, he said, so he could make money doing small jobs for Texas newspapers and radio stations.

Later, he was hired to broadcast Oklahoma college football games. Then he worked for Braniff Airlines and United Press, covering the 1937 New London school explosion in East Texas.

During World War II, his youthful bravado as a war correspondent took him all over, from ship convoys in the treacherous North Atlantic to advancing with ground troops under fire in Europe. He also flew aboard B-17 bombers during raids over Germany. The four-engine planes had no room for passengers, so Cronkite sometimes manned a .50-caliber machine gun and fired at attacking enemy fighters.

After covering the Nuremberg trials and working in Moscow for United Press, Cronkite moved to CBS News and wanted to cover the Korean War but was kept in Washington to do doing news reports in a new medium, television.

Cronkite’s discussions with Carleton provide fascinating looks into the evolution of TV news and how coverage of the 1952 Republican and Democratic presidential conventions helped fuel a national wave of television set purchases.

As Cronkite became a trusted broadcaster and documentary producer, he gained greater access to famous and powerful figures. In the wide-ranging conversations recorded over three years, he reflected on his interviews with several U.S. presidents and world leaders, plus his dramatic coverage of the JFK assassination and the U.S. space program.

Carleton has called the book a “companion” to Cronkite’s memoir. Yet it stands on its own as engrossing reading. And it includes considerable information left out of, or truncated in, A Reporter’s Life.

Proceeds from sales of Conversations with Cronkite will help support the Briscoe Center’s Walter Cronkite Papers and News Media History Archive.

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Si Dunn