Terence Smith’s memoir recounts his extraordinary journalistic career with The New York Times, CBS News and PBS, covering everything from the inner workings of the White House to fours wars and stories drawn from the daily lives of people in 44 countries. He also provides a first-hand account of the evolution of journalism from print to digital.
Terence Smith is an award-winning journalist who has been a political reporter, foreign correspondent, editor and television analyst over the course of an almost five-decade career that included The New York Times, CBS News, and the Newshour on PBS. In 2013 Smith was inducted into the Professional Journalists Hall of Fame. He resides in Annapolis, Maryland.
Chapter 1 – Here We Go
Chapter 2 - From New York to Jerusalem
Chapter 3 - From The Trib to the Cathedral
Chapter 4 – The Holy Land
Chapter 5 - The Battle for Jerusalem
Chapter 6 – Six Days in June
Chapter 7 – Southeast Asia
Chapter 8 – Out of the Frying Pan…
Chapter 9 – War Redux
Chapter 10 – Green Beret Murder
Chapter 11 – Life in Saigon
Chapter 12 – At Home At Home
Chapter 13 – Diplomatic Dissonance
Chapter 14 – A New and Different Israel
Chapter 15 – Anguish in Austria
Chapter 16 – War Redux Redux
Chapter 17 – Post-War Blues
Chapter 18 – Wrapping Up the Holy Land
Chapter 19 – At Home At Home
Chapter 20 – Goodbye Print, Hello Broadcast
Chapter 21 – CBS Sunday Morning
Chapter 22 – The News Business as News
Epilogue – It’s a Wrap
What a life Terence Smith has lived! This is an adventure story of a reporter’s career, well lived, well told, big hearted and chock full of great stories.
Terence Smith followed his famous sportswriter father, Red, into newspapering’s heyday. “You’re writing a letter home,” an editor advised the fledgling foreign correspondent heading out into the world. Four Wars, Five Presidents is just that – a remarkable recounting of Terry’s fifty adventurous years in print and television reporting and editing, a rumination on the transformation of news gathering and the world, and a loving letter home to the illustrious parent who set the high bar that his son has now cleared.
Terence Smith’s Four Wars, Five Presidents is an intimate, sweeping, engrossing memoir of a New York Times reporter covering the world during the romantic era of foreign correspondents. Smith seemed to have been in every international hot spot in the late 20th century from Israel to Vietnam to Cyprus. Knowing him, I’d say he’s not a dare devil, and yet he came under fire from the Egyptians and was held hostage by the Turks. Smith’s account reads like a historical novel about life as a journalist in exotic places – including when he jumped ship and joined CBS News and covered the White House.
Terry Smith’s candid, personal story of one reporter’s life of adventure intersects with some of the biggest news events of the past 50 years, including wars in Vietnam and the Middle East, Henry Kissinger in the Nixon White House, fateful U.S. moves to help the Shah of Iran and tumultuous domestic politics. An up-close look at American journalism on its best days, at the legendary New York Times, CBS News and PBS’s NewsHour, by someone whose love for his work comes through on every page.
Exceptionally informative, impressively organized and presented, Four Wars, Five Presidents provides an "insider" view to the life and work of a professional journalist. A combination of personal memoir and the history of journalism over the past few decades Four Wars, Five Presidents is highly recommended for community, college, and university library Contemporary Journalism and Contemporary American Biography collections.
As a veteran television news reporter, Smith won Emmys in the late 1980s for his stories about nuclear power and Hurricane Hugo. His memoir covers his globetrotting, five-decade career reporting on major news events and reflects on changes in journalism that he experienced firsthand. The longtime foreign and political correspondent, son of legendary sports writer Red Smith ’27, worked for The New York Times, CBS and PBS, witnessing the shift from an era of print dominance to the heyday of broadcast networks to the digital revolution.
Smith is a gifted storyteller and raconteur. For those in uniform today, dealing with the media and faced with a 24-hour news cycle, his book educates professionally and, at the same time, is good reading.
10/22/21, PBS NewsHour: Terence Smith talked about the book with host Judy Woodruff.
12/26/21, The Capital: A feature story ran about Terry Smith, his career, and decision to write a memoir.
1/23/22, CBS News Sunday Morning: Terence Smith, his encounter with Sirhan Sirhan's father, and the book are featured in this segment with Jane Pauley.