Acclaim

“Neal Spelce is the journalistic Zelig of our times. From JFK and LBJ to the Bushes and John McCain, Spelce has had a front-row seat to the history between those bookends. And from that unique perch, he presents a unique view of the politics and news that have shaped our history. It’s a fun ride, made all the better because Spelce tells it all with the bark off.”

Mark McKinnon

Chief media advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain, Creator and Cohost of The Circus on Showtime

“From my decades of intimate knowledge of LBJ, I can tell you Neal Spelce absolutely nails LBJ’s personality with these stories, many that have never been told. Reinforcing his powers of observation are the dozens of Neal’s personal
photographs he sprinkles throughout With The Bark Off. I’ve watched Neal first-hand throughout his career. He has no agenda but the truth.


His life in the news media runs the gamut from reporting on-the-air live during unrelenting gunfire on a college campus to following Vice President Johnson into a jungle village in Vietnam.


Neal Spelce tells his stories as if he’s confiding in you in a personal conversation. And they are entertaining, much of the time with a self-deprecating sense of humor. It is a splendid memoir.”

Tom Johnson

former LBJ White House aide, former publisher Los Angeles Times, former CEO, CNN

“Neal Spelce’s memoir sparkles with stories, anecdotes, and characters recalled by a wide-eyed Texan who moved among the shakers and makers of his time but kept his feet on the ground and his notebook handy. It’s a heckuva trip – starting deep in the heart of Texas that gave us mesmerizing figures like LBJ, John Connally, and Darrell Royal and stirred ambition among the rest of us like bluebonnets blooming in the spring.”

Bill Moyers

former LBJ White House press secretary and acclaimed PBS documentarian and commentator

“Over more than two-thirds of a century, Neal Spelce came to be on a first name basis with many powerful people and he witnessed an impressive number of big events and change. Much of this was as a first-person, on-the-ground, there-when-it-happened chronicler of his time. As the years have added up, Neal’s body of work is as much that of a historian as a reporter. But unlike many who write about history, he experienced it firsthand.”

Dan Rather

former award-winning CBS-TV news anchor, editor, reporter

“In the 1960s, America was hungry for ‘someone to believe in,’ and Neal Spelce was that someone for the next half-century. The press, the public, and my family trusted him for his honesty and integrity. In his long-awaited chronicle of those times, Neal takes us through his remarkable life at breakneck speed in the midst of world events and the great stories of our times. With The Bark Off is a marvelous read, from the year my father was selected as President Kennedy’s running mate to Neal traveling across Asia with Daddy as vice president. In his long and abundant life, Neal has always been ethical, credible, informed, and beloved – a man of great professionalism with a big heart. His book shows he’s still someone to believe in.”

Luci Baines Johnson

daughter of President and Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson

“Neal Spelce is one of those rare people who can’t make a move without stepping into history, which is why his memoir is so fascinating and rewarding. He was on the scene when Lyndon Johnson got a very public enema, when he shouted ‘Yee-haw’ in the Taj Mahal, and finally when he was laid to rest on the Pedernales. In1966, Spelce was also the newsman who alerted he world, under fire and in real time, to the then-unimaginable horrors of a mass shooting. All that, and he also consulted on Ann Richards’ wardrobe at the 1988 Democratic convention, and
may very well be the only living soul to know the meaning of the word ‘Thermostrockimortimer.’”

Stephen Harrigan

author of Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas