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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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speech -- sometime in the '70s -- at a university in Sao Paulo. I had finished my little talk to the students, who were all interested in public affairs or journalism. I talked about editorial work or political relations between Brazil and the United States or something. I can't remember now what it was, this was an awful long time ago.

But the thing I'll never forget about that meeting is that when the floor was open to questions, the very first question one of these young men asked me was, “What do you think, Mr. Oakes, of the Talese book on the power and glory [The Kingdom and the Power]?” This was only a few years after the book had appeared.

I was floored by that question, so my answer to this young man -- and I must say I was very glad that at least enough time had elapsed so I had read it -- so I said to him, “Well, what I think of the Talese book I can only explain to you in these terms: everybody at the Times who is asked that question responds to it depending on the way he was treated in the book. Some of the executives of the book weren't treated so well, so I suppose you'll not get a very favorable critique of the book from them. As far as I was concerned, I was treated extremely well, so I think the book was just absolutely great.” But I sure wasn't going to say that I necessarily agreed with all the comments that were made about various of my colleagues. But as far as I was concerned, when you asked me what the book was -- I have to say, well -- I was treated fine, but you'll probably hear different comments if you ask other executives of the Times. That's the trouble with all of this memorializing and memoir writing. It's so subjective, and it's subjective on the part of the people who write the memoirs. That's the primary reason, although I've been asked many times to write my own memoirs -- and here I'm doing some psychoanalyzing of my own, on myself -- I really think the main reason I resisted doing that and never have done that -- The nearest I've ever come to that is this oral history we've been

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