About The Book

 

“THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SHOT!”

 

In 40-plus years in journalism, I twice heard these terrible words.

 

First was Nov. 22, 1963, and nobody ever will forget exactly where they were and what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dallas.

 

Almost 18 years later, on March 30, 1981, just a couple of months after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as America’s 40th president, I heard those words shouted for a second time.

 

Reagan was targeted by John Warnock Hinckley, a young man haplessly, hopelessly lovesick over an actress he never could possibly have.

 

Dean Reynolds, UPI reporter covering Reagan’s speech at the Washington Hilton, frantically telephoned the bureau to say that both the president and press secretary Jim Brady appeared to horribly wounded by Hinckley’s shots at point-blank range.

 

That touched off 14 breathless hours as UPI reporters in Washington and bureaus across the nation continually filed new developments to a world starved for details.

 

The chapter, “The President Has Been Shot,” will take you backstage to teach you what it takes to cover a far-reaching, fast-breaking story — the lifeline of a major wire service.

 

In this extraordinary memoir by award-winning journalist Ron Cohen, you also will learn of his interactions with household names— John Riggins, Sandra Day O’Connor, Joseph Heller, Mitzi Gaynor, Benazir Bhutto, mobster Abner “Longie” Zwillman; as well as less renown people whose lives beautifully intertwined with his — Myrna Fletcher, John “Duke” Dowd, Thelma V. Allen, Cush Figlio, and Millie and Maurie Cohen, the author’s parents.

 

Cohen’s breezy, conversational stories are rife with humor, tinged with nostalgia, some sadness, and the occasional personal embarrassment.

 

You’ll be left wishing there were more — and this book is, as Ron’s friend Ed Asner puts it:

 

“So good it ought to come with a money-back guarantee.”

 

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