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This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood

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With the nation at war in the 1940s, twenty-two-year-old Jack Valenti flew fifty-one combat missions as the pilot of a B-25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force based in Italy. In the 1960s, with the nation reeling from the assassination of a beloved president and becoming embroiled in a far different kind of war in Vietnam, he was in that fateful Dallas motorcade in 1963 With the nation at war in the 1940s, twenty-two-year-old Jack Valenti flew fifty-one combat missions as the pilot of a B-25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force based in Italy. In the 1960s, with the nation reeling from the assassination of a beloved president and becoming embroiled in a far different kind of war in Vietnam, he was in that fateful Dallas motorcade in 1963, flew back to Washington with the new president, and for three years worked in the inner circle of the White House as special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. Then, for the next thirty-eight years, with American society and popular culture undergoing a revolutionary transformation, Valenti was the public face of Hollywood in his capacity as head of the Motion Picture Association of America. Been there, done that, indeed. Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Valenti has led several lives, any one of which could have provided ample material for an unforgettable memoir. As it is, This Time, This Place is the gripping story of a man who saw the terrible face of war while fighting with skill and bravery for his country; who was in the room, listening, participating, and remembering, as political decisions were made that would benefit or devastate countless lives in this country and on the other side of the world; and who championed the interest of the vast and globally influential movie industry with tenacity and vision. The list of boldface names whom Valenti knew and with whom he worked is as varied as it is astonishing in number. Aside from LBJ, there were Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Robert McNamara, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Julia Roberts, Cary Grant, Lew Wasserman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, and Bill Clinton, to begin a very long list. The life of a man who earned both the Distinguished Flying Cross and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is inherently intriguing, but Valenti’s warm, sometimes rueful, always engaging account gives this memoir a depth of humanity and a taste of life’s unpredictability that will linger long after you turn the final page. From growing up poor but largely oblivious to that fact in a hardscrabble neighborhood of Greek and Italian immigrants in Houston to rising to the highest summits both of national government and Hollywood, This Time, This Place is a candid and clear-eyed reflection of the joys and sorrows, ambitions and disappointments, of a life fully recognizable in its extraordinary variety. It is also a sweeping and important historical record, written by a brilliantly successful man who helped to shape politics and entertainment in the second half of the twentieth century, and who always found himself in the center of the current storm. From the Hardcover edition.


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With the nation at war in the 1940s, twenty-two-year-old Jack Valenti flew fifty-one combat missions as the pilot of a B-25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force based in Italy. In the 1960s, with the nation reeling from the assassination of a beloved president and becoming embroiled in a far different kind of war in Vietnam, he was in that fateful Dallas motorcade in 1963 With the nation at war in the 1940s, twenty-two-year-old Jack Valenti flew fifty-one combat missions as the pilot of a B-25 attack bomber with the 12th Air Force based in Italy. In the 1960s, with the nation reeling from the assassination of a beloved president and becoming embroiled in a far different kind of war in Vietnam, he was in that fateful Dallas motorcade in 1963, flew back to Washington with the new president, and for three years worked in the inner circle of the White House as special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. Then, for the next thirty-eight years, with American society and popular culture undergoing a revolutionary transformation, Valenti was the public face of Hollywood in his capacity as head of the Motion Picture Association of America. Been there, done that, indeed. Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Valenti has led several lives, any one of which could have provided ample material for an unforgettable memoir. As it is, This Time, This Place is the gripping story of a man who saw the terrible face of war while fighting with skill and bravery for his country; who was in the room, listening, participating, and remembering, as political decisions were made that would benefit or devastate countless lives in this country and on the other side of the world; and who championed the interest of the vast and globally influential movie industry with tenacity and vision. The list of boldface names whom Valenti knew and with whom he worked is as varied as it is astonishing in number. Aside from LBJ, there were Jack and Bobby Kennedy, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Robert McNamara, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Julia Roberts, Cary Grant, Lew Wasserman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, and Bill Clinton, to begin a very long list. The life of a man who earned both the Distinguished Flying Cross and his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is inherently intriguing, but Valenti’s warm, sometimes rueful, always engaging account gives this memoir a depth of humanity and a taste of life’s unpredictability that will linger long after you turn the final page. From growing up poor but largely oblivious to that fact in a hardscrabble neighborhood of Greek and Italian immigrants in Houston to rising to the highest summits both of national government and Hollywood, This Time, This Place is a candid and clear-eyed reflection of the joys and sorrows, ambitions and disappointments, of a life fully recognizable in its extraordinary variety. It is also a sweeping and important historical record, written by a brilliantly successful man who helped to shape politics and entertainment in the second half of the twentieth century, and who always found himself in the center of the current storm. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for This Time, This Place: My Life in War, the White House, and Hollywood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I sensed a certain honesty in Valenti's memoir which seemed almost out of place for a person involved in both politics and entertainment over his adult life. Add in the early part of his flying B-25s in WWII and you have a pretty good story. I sensed a certain honesty in Valenti's memoir which seemed almost out of place for a person involved in both politics and entertainment over his adult life. Add in the early part of his flying B-25s in WWII and you have a pretty good story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lkelly6

    I loved every word of this book. Valenti writes vividly and clearly, his personal voice resounds with positive energy. He certainly lived in interesting times. Born in 1921, he grew up in an Italian-American family and neighborhood in Houston, TX. He flew B-25 bombers during WWII. After graduating from the Univ of Houston in 1946, he got an MBA from Harvard and then went to work in marketing for Humble Oil Company, which became Exxon. I really connect with his stories about Humble because my fat I loved every word of this book. Valenti writes vividly and clearly, his personal voice resounds with positive energy. He certainly lived in interesting times. Born in 1921, he grew up in an Italian-American family and neighborhood in Houston, TX. He flew B-25 bombers during WWII. After graduating from the Univ of Houston in 1946, he got an MBA from Harvard and then went to work in marketing for Humble Oil Company, which became Exxon. I really connect with his stories about Humble because my father was working for Humble Pipeline in TX during these same years. He and a partner established a successful advertising agency in Houston in 1952 and began working for politicians. Eventually he worked with President Lyndon Johnson and so can describe what was transpiring in the White House during those turbulent years of the Vietnam War and passing the great legislation: Medicare, Voting Rights, Civil Rights with regard to housing. Then he worked 38 years as President of the Motion Picture Association of America, creating the film industry rating system still in use. While this is one man’s view of USA during the 20th century, it is a pretty good picture of our world through the eyes of an energetic optimist “mover and shaker” extraordinaire. GOOD READ!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob Mason

    I really enjoyed this one. Jack Valenti truly occupied a unique space in modern life, a WWII veteran substantively and highly placed in both political and entertainment circles. As such, his autobiography is a nice window into all those worlds. Not bad for a dollar store buy!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rick Pitterle

  5. 4 out of 5

    McCabe

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Kiedis

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kayleen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kurt

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brittanni

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gonzagasteve

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Earle

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gibran Bham

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  19. 4 out of 5

    John Yingling

  20. 5 out of 5

    Blake

    I only wish he had discussed his time in WWII in more detail! This book is fascinating.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rich

  22. 5 out of 5

    Derek Meier

  23. 5 out of 5

    beverly blankenship

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Prawat

  26. 4 out of 5

    Damien A Brosnan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Jamail

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shane Hedges

  30. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

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