I've moved on from Ulysses Grant to Benjamin Franklin (the 2000 bio also from H.W. Brands--it's even better than the more recent Isaakson bio), but here's a question I've been waiting to offer up since the summer. It's from Douglas Brinkley's great new bio of Walter Cronkite.
As a reporter for United Press (never a Murrow Boy), Walter Cronkite received the best of training in print journalism in the thick of things, as a World War II correspondent in Europe. He was on the ground (or in the air) for some of the most dangerous and excitng and important moments of the war. According to biographer Douglas Brinkley, Walter was injured in action (to the point where he actually bled) only once during the war.
Any idea what his assignment was at the time?
Let me offer some choices. Was Walter?
A) Covering London during the blitz;
B) Covering the evacuation of Dunkirk;
C) Covering the D-Day landings;
D) Covering the invasion of Berlin;
or E) Covering the celebration of the liberation of the Netherlands.
You've probably guessed the answer by the way I worded the question. It was in fact not on some dangerous mission that future Uncle Walter bled for UP readers. According to Brinkley (and we have no reason to doubt him), Cronkite actually bled when hit by a bouquet of tulips while covering the liberation of the Neterlands, in Amsterdam as I recall. Must have been some mighty heavy...or at least thorny...flowers!
As always, you don't need to take my word for it. I've googled the proof...