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On Her Trail

My Mother, Nancy Dickerson, TV News' First Woman Star

Photo Credit: Marissa Rauch

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and appears regularly on NPR, FOX and MSNBC. A former White House correspondent for Time magazine, he covered George W. Bush's administration and his presidential campaigns. He and his wife and two children live in Washington, DC.

"John Dickerson's biography of Nancy Dickerson is a raw and compelling portrait of his mother, who was, in a way, the Katie Couric of her time, the first woman to break into the all-male fortress of TV news, back in the dark ages of the 1960s. With On Her Trail Dickerson has written more than a biography: it is a history of the time, with rich new stories about John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and a social dissection of elite Washington. It is--and this may be the most captivating part of the book--a personal confession of life with a mother almost obsessively driven in her career. . . . The book is a mix of solid reportorial digging with a son's sometimes heartbreaking insights. It is bold, shocking at times, and brilliant."
--Lesley Stahl

"Beautifully observed and richly reported, a family tale with a twist--because it's written about the kind of family that normally wouldn't let secrets make their way outside the security fence. A tough and loving book by a gifted journalist."
--Peggy Noonan

"Anyone who was a big fan of Nancy Dickerson will hate John Dickerson by about page 40. But by the time you reach the end of this poignant, sometimes funny, but always wise and human memoir-biography, you will love them both. John for his insight and compassion, and Nancy for the price she paid to blaze the trail for Katie Couric and Greta van Susteren."
--Al Franken

"With On Her Trail, John Dickerson has written a compelling and nuanced portrait of his mother, Nancy Dickerson, who was TV news' first woman star. . . . There are plenty of details in Dickerson's book to interest Kennedy-watchers. . . . But most of all, the book is rich with details about the political and the powerful in the '60s and '70s as television news came of age." --Boston Globe

“Riveting. . . . You cannot turn your eyes away.”
--Elsa Walsh, The Washington Post

“A memorable portrait of the woman and her career. . . . A unique and authentic view of Nancy Hanschman Dickerson . . . that will shape future studies of this phenomenal woman.”
--The Washington Times