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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,287 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Walters Narrator: Bernadette Dunne Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2008 ISBN: 9781415943670
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And now, at last, the most important woman in the history of television journalism gives us that “whole package,” in her inspiring and riveting memoir. After more than forty years of interviewing heads of state, world leaders, movie stars, criminals, murderers, inspirational figures, and celebrities of all kinds, Barbara Walters has turned her gift for examination onto herself to reveal the forces that shaped her extraordinary life.

Barbara Walters’s perception of the world was formed at a very early age. Her father, Lou Walters, was the owner and creative mind behind the legendary Latin Quarter nightclub, and it was his risk-taking lifestyle that gave Barbara her first taste of glamour. It also made her aware of the ups and downs, the insecurities, and even the tragedies that can occur when someone is willing to take great risks, for Lou Walters didn’t just make several fortunes, he also lost them. Barbara learned early about the damage that such an existence can do to relationships, between husband and wife as well as between parent and child. Through her roller-coaster ride of a childhood, Barbara had a close companion, her mentally challenged sister, Jackie. True, Jackie taught her younger sister much about patience and compassion, but Barbara also writes honestly about the resentment she often felt having a sister who was so “different” and the guilt that still haunts her.

All of this, the financial responsibility for her family, the fear, the love, played a large part in the choices she made as she grew up: the friendships she developed, the relationships she had, the marriages she tried to make work. Ultimately, thanks to her drive, combined with a decent amount of luck, she began a career in television. And what a career it has been! Against great odds, Barbara has made it to the top of a male-dominated industry. She was the first woman co-host of the Today show, the first female network news co-anchor, the host and producer of countless top-rated Specials, the star of 20/20, and the creator and co-host of The View. She has not just interviewed the world’s most fascinating figures, she has become a part of their world. These are just a few of the names that play a key role in Barbara’s life, career, and book: Yasir Arafat, Warren Beatty, Menachem Begin, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Roy Cohn, the Dalai Lama, Princess Diana, Katharine Hepburn, King Hussein, Angelina Jolie, Henry Kissinger, Monica Lewinsky, Richard Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, Christopher Reeve, Anwar Sadat, John Wayne, the list goes on and on.

Barbara Walters has spent a lifetime auditioning: for her bosses at the television networks, for millions of viewers, for the most famous people in the world, and even for her own daughter, with whom she has had a difficult but ultimately quite wonderful and moving relationship. This book, in some ways, is her final audition, as she fully opens up both her private and public lives. In doing so, she has given us a story that is heartbreaking and honest, surprising and fun, sometimes startling, and always fascinating.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ms. Walters’ story is greatly humanized by the family memoir that colors her long litany of professional successes.”

    New York Times

  • “An unusually ambitious and successful book…suffused with an emotional intensity…It belongs to a part of American culture that Walters helped invent.”

    New Yorker

  • “She doesn’t shy from the tough stuff…Nor does Walters, an entertainer as much as a ground-breaking journalist, skimp on the fun bits.”

    People

  • “Walters gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she’s interviewed, this mammoth memoir’s energy never flags.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • Audition is brutally honest, both about Walters and those she's worked with. Readers won't be left wondering what she thinks of anything, or anyone, for that matter. . . . It's a fascinating look at a woman who has lived a fascinating life. Laura L. Hutchison, The Free Lance-Star
  • [Walters’] heartfelt candor lifts this book above mere titillation. . . . blended with this personal drama is a delightful tale of the golden age of television . . . Through 50-plus chapters, you feel as though you’ve enjoyed a year of weekly lunches with Walters . . . She regales you with the juicy behind-the-scenes details of the celebrities she’s interviewed, mixed in with stories of her own trials and tribulations. In the end, you envy her a little less and admire her more. Kathleen Matthews, Washington Post
  • …the book is a triumph! Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic
  • …the grande dame of TV news has written a blockbuster. . . . Readers will gobble up the excerpts from scores of interviews with world leaders, politicians, celebrities and murderers. Kathleen Daley, New York Sun
  • an indispensable book along with a surefire monster best seller…intensely readable…She’s TV’s original monarch and superstar where power, show business and journalism converge. It’s Barbara Walters’ world, and the rest of us just live in it. [Her] mammoth memoir, doesn’t just touch chords, it’s a 600-plus page oratorio. Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
  • …compulsively entertaining… Rebecca Traister, Salon.com
  • Ms. Walters’s story is greatly humanized by the family memoir that colors her long litany of professional successes. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • an unusually ambitious and successful book. …suffused with an emotional intensity…it belongs to a part of American culture that Walters helped invent. Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker
  • “She doesn’t shy from the tough stuff… Nor does Walters, an entertainer as much as a ground-breaking journalist, skimp on the fun bits. Allison Adato, People
  • …the crowning glory of a remarkable career… Liz Smith, New York Post
  • …sizzling… Jo Piazza, New York Daily News
  • …compulsively readable… [Walters] gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she's interviewed, this mammoth memoir's energy never flags. Publishers Weekly (starred)
  • A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself. Ilene Cooper, Booklist (starred)
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A #1 USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jody | 2/16/2014

    " I know-I know Barbara wha wha. I could not put this book down! Unbeleivable what this woman went through to become the first woman anchor. I was amazed by her story starting from her childhood and through her career. Loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 2/15/2014

    " An interesting read, I had no idea about anything that had happened in Barbara Walters' life. She's quite the woman. A "tell-all" memoir that is quite readable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 2/8/2014

    " I loved this autobiography by Barbara Walters. She was a "first" on many fronts, but since that wasn't her aim when she set out, she comes across as very unassuming. I never knew her father was a producer in a famous New York night club. This went a long way toward explaning her future in show business. She was interviewing leaders in the Middle East in the pivotal seventies, some her most interesting stories. She is very honest about her three marriages and her daughter's difficult adolescence. A long read, but hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 nooshisooshi | 2/3/2014

    " she's interviewed and covered every epic news story. quite interesting to read about the behind the scenes and quirks of so many legends. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 1/29/2014

    " very entertaining read. 600 pages! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 1/27/2014

    " This was not as good as I expected. It took me about two months to read four chapters because I just didn't get into it. I took it back to the library without finishing it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kera Boaz | 1/26/2014

    " It was entertaining, but definitely could've been written in a more engaging manner. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn Chriss | 1/25/2014

    " Too much detail and like many autobiographies, it reads like "I did this and then I did this and then I did that." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angela | 1/16/2014

    " I loved this book! Similar to Personal History, by Katharine Graham, you learn about the strength of Barbara Walters, and the challenges and insecurities she overcame. It was a great mix of her personal story, history, politics and the media. What a pleasure to read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra Strange | 1/16/2014

    " This autobiography is a revealing and fascinating portrait of one of the most influential personalities of our time. Her forthright telling of ALL of her life shows her to be admirable, with positive values, though not necessarily in her private intimate life with the opposite sex, where she has had numerous liaisons. Touching and frank parts include her relationship with her autistic (?) sister and her tumultuous relationship with her then teenage adopted daughter and how the relationship resolved into peace and greater love. The reader gains valuable insights into the personalities of presidents and killers, stars and everyday people that Barbara has interviewed over the years, as well as a good picture of what it means to be a pioneering anchorwoman and newswoman on network TV. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shannon | 12/26/2013

    " Throughout a ton of name dropping, this made me laugh out loud: "I left the program a week before the vacation began to join my friend the columnist Cindy Adams, on Judge Judy's yacht." Oh, Barbara. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roxanne | 12/25/2013

    " Very boring to me. I was ready to put down after 30 pages, but I told myself this has got to get better. Well, it did not. Coming from her line of work I expected this to be fantastic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Renee | 12/13/2013

    " This is a fascinating read about a fascinating life. When I was a little girl I said that when I grew up I wanted to be "an interviewer" -- this book and Barbara's life re-ignited that passion. A rich, full life - complex and inspiring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mela V | 11/30/2013

    " This book was really excellent.. I felt it was easy to read and understand. I liked that Barbara was up front and personal as well as honest. Found out things I would have never thought she would do. an interesting book and I recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 10/23/2013

    " An amazing story. You learn that the most important thing in her life was her career, and everything else was sacrificed for it. She worked hard though, and has met and interviewed anybody who is anybody in this world. She paved the way for women in her field, and is very proud of that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Toni Fuscellaro | 2/5/2013

    " I had a whole new respect for Barbara Walters after reading this. Worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tami | 12/6/2012

    " The best autobiography I have ever read. Very interesting and exciting life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Magic Mary Austin | 11/23/2012

    " Im not much for biographies but I found this interesting because her life has been so different from my own. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 9/9/2012

    " The book is really two in one, a personal and professional tale. These often conflicting aspects seem to be at the center of who Barabra Walters is. I thought the best parts were those that focused on her personal life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martinaj | 8/5/2012

    " Fantastic read, that woman had (and has) an incredible career as well as personal life. Very well written, can't put it down. One complain is that she clearly can't criticize anybody, not even Fidel Castro! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 7/31/2012

    " Wow--Barbara Walters really knows everyone and has a had quite a career! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 6/28/2012

    " okay, a bit boring after a while. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kitty | 6/13/2012

    " Barbara Walters is someone I've always admired so I knew I would enjoy her book. I listened to it on CD. I was amazed to learn how challenging parts of her childhood were. The book kept my interest. I enjoyed hearing about her interviews with famous people all over the world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joyce | 3/6/2012

    " Actually didn't finish this. Interesting tidbits but she's way too into herself for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 12/5/2011

    " It was an entertaining read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 10/24/2011

    " For politicalphiles this is an excellent historical summary of all Ms. Walters interviews. She also gave us an insight to her personal life. Very interesting read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Holly Little | 8/19/2011

    " I can't even remember what possessed me to open this book in the first place, but it was not worth the time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 6/20/2011

    " Purchased so I could really explore the history and rise of this icon whose story I felt disconnected from. Not only did I discover her personal history, but was able to be taken on a journey through our collective history as well. Finally finished the nearly 600 pages yesterday! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 6/7/2011

    " Really enjoyed learning about his upbringing as well as her challenges in her early career. Did this as an audio book and enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Renee | 5/22/2011

    " This is a fascinating read about a fascinating life. When I was a little girl I said that when I grew up I wanted to be "an interviewer" -- this book and Barbara's life re-ignited that passion. A rich, full life - complex and inspiring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie | 5/13/2011

    " Interesting of course. Ms. Walters has lived an amazing life. I've always been a fan of hers. The book however took me forever to read. Not that well-written, some of the sections were hard to plod through. Even though I didn't love 'Audition,' I did find it a (mostly) worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 5/10/2011

    " I went from liking Barbara to really liking her. What an amazing career and life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 5/5/2011

    " very interesting. fun to learn the stories about her interactions with such well known people
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 4/26/2011

    " Except for her repetition of the phrase "to this very day," the book was an interesting history. What a life she's had. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Felicia | 4/15/2011

    " Absolutely loved this book and the candid language in which it was written. I've always been a huge Barbara Walters fan. She was the picture of class and composure. To learn of the little scandals, doubts and other issues of her private life was captivating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryann | 4/15/2011

    " A 21 disk audio book that held my interest as Barbara Walters herself read her life story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 4/9/2011

    " So... yeah, I haven't finished it yet but so far it's really good. She is as good of an author as she is a newscaster, and she has a very interesting background. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kmaxham | 2/11/2011

    " My god, I thought it would never end. I enjoyed the second half much more than the first half. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 2/10/2011

    " Autobiography of a personality I have admired for a long tome "

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About the Author
Author Barbara WaltersBarbara Walters is the first woman ever to cohost a network news program. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. An ABC News correspondent, she is also host of The Barbara Walters Specials and the creator, cohost, and co—executive producer of ABC Daytime’s The View. She lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Bernadette Dunne is the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and has twice been nominated for the prestigious Audie Award. She studied at the Royal National Theatre in London and the Studio Theater in Washington, DC, and has appeared at the Kennedy Center and off Broadway. She lives in Brooklyn.