Although a self-described unreconstructed Scotch Calvinist, the 82-year-old Reston clearly has mellowed, by evidence of this captivating memoir. Perceptive, frank, uncommonly interesting, avuncular, he relates with seemingly total recall "everything he saw" during 50 years with the New York Times as correspondent, D.C. bureau chief, executive editor, columnist. We learn much from Reston's close readings of the characters of our era's major political figures: the 10 presidents he has covered, cabinet members, presidential advisers, legislators, international leaders. His shop talk of the Times , revealing of internal workings, analyzes coverage of various controversial events and profiles colleagues. The integrity of the Times , Reston writes, has been one of the "dominant forces" in his life, along with his wife and the stern teaching of his parents. "Don't breathe on the window, ye'll get it dirty," his mother was wont to chastise, but "Scotty" gives the admonition no mind in his impressive memoirs.