Call Me Ted / by Ted Turner, with Bill Burke (Hachette Audio, 2008). Unabridged on 13 CDs, read by Ted Turner, with Ted stories read by four other readers. Includes conversation between Turner and Wolf Blitzer. ISBN 9781600244223
Call Me Ted is the autobiography of an energetic and controversial man, Ted Turner, who has been prominent in so many aspects of American life. As founder of the Turner Broadcasting System, Cable News Network, and other outlets, he helped build the cable industry, and then got bounced out of it in the aftermath of the merger between AOL and Time Warner. Four-time Yachtsman of the Year, he was skipper of a winning America's Cup team and also owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball team and Atlanta Hawks basketball team. Turner's stormy personal life has also been lived in public. He has been married three times, once to the equally controversial Jane Fonda.
Many people who write autobiographies seek to justify and glorify themselves. Many others write of their best-known accomplishments but reveal little of their personalities, their private lives, or their leisure pursuits. Call Me Ted includes all of that, along with the story with his childhood. His father, who built up a successful business in the billboard industry, sent Ted to boarding school when he was only four. He committed suicide when Ted was 23. Ted took over his business, but became more interested in broadcasting than billboards.
Somehow this driven man of outstanding achievements in both sports and broadcasting but three failed marriages came to appreciate family life and have a better relationship with his children than with his father. He has also become heavily involved in philanthropy and social causes. Call Me Ted not only manages to give weight to Turner's work, leisure, and family, but freely acknowledges his insecurities and failures.
The most unusual feature of Call Me Ted, though, is the inclusion of "Ted stories." Friends and associates, not all of the associates being friends, provided vignettes of their own observations and recollections. These stories give the readers opportunity to come to their own conclusions about the significance of the various events described.
With the help of professional author Bill Burke, Call Me Ted is very readable, approachable, and entertaining. Turner himself stars in the audio version, however. He recorded it from a hospital bed! All-Purpose Guru Alert offers one carefully chosen bargain book like this every day. If Call Me Ted is not featured the day you visit, check the past offers. It will be there until supplies are exhausted.