Mark Whitaker, the former editor of Newsweek and Washington bureau chief for NBC News, is CNN's managing editor and the author of a new book My Long Trip Home: A family memoir.
Here's a review from Better World Books:
"After an astonishing early career as a groundbreaking black scholar of Africa, his father spiraled into an alcoholic descent that resulted in the abandonment of his French wife and their two children—an issue that impacted Whitaker greatly and one he explores in-depth. It is this event that sets the scene for the memoir, as Whitaker and his family struggle to overcome that rejection.
"My Long Trip Home is in many ways a coming of age story, told with a reporter’s attention to detail and, remarkably, without prejudice. Only once his father has passed does Mark fully learn to accept his parents for who they are and come to terms with his rough childhood. I love stories of family relationships, and this one does not disappoint. Whitaker explores the ways his past continues to impact his present, contrasting his depressed and impoverished upbringing with the sophisticated lifestyle he became a part of as an adult. My Long Trip Home is a reporter’s search to identify himself amid a complex family, and the emotional burden that is lifted once he learns the truth about his past."
Whitaker published an article today, "Reporting your family story: A user guide" that gives some of the lessons he learned in writing his memoir:
Don't take "I don't remember" for an answer.
Look for every written document you can find.
Explore the surrounding history.
Whether or not you are obsessed enough to write a book as Whitaker did, what family stories do you have to tell? Who will tell them if you don't?