In his 1995 memoir, “A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures,” Ben Bradlee had much to say on the subject of Ben Bradlee. A few excerpts:

On his education: “There was never a question that I would get into Harvard, or go to Harvard. My father had gone there. My grandfather had gone there, and many generations of Bradlees before him, a total of 51, all the way back to 1795 with Caleb Bradlee.”

On his naval experience in World War II: “The first time a man goes into battle — making eye contact with someone trying to kill him — is strangely like the first time a man makes love to a woman. The anticipation is overpowering; the ignorance is obstructive; the fear of disgrace is consuming; and survival is triumphant.”

On another kind of ink: “The previous year [1941] for reasons that escaped me then, as now, I had been tatooed three times. First, really inexplicably, my initials — B over C over B on my right buttock. Then a snake, coiled through the initials. And finally, a rooster just under my left shoulder. [Standing on a nude beach on Martha’s Vineyard in 1942] I would have given anything at that moment to be rid of them, and stop what felt like hundreds of eyes staring at me.”

On his friendship with John F. Kennedy: “We had been invited to sweat out the West Virginia [primary] vote with the Kennedys in May 1960. To help pass the time, we decided to go to a movie. Jack had selected something called ‘Suddenly Last Summer,’ but the film’s publicity included a warning that no one would be admitted and no one could leave after the film had started. So we went across 14th Street to the Plaza Theater, which then specialized in porn films. Not the hard-core stuff of later years, but a nasty thing called ‘Private Property,’ starring one Katie Manx as a horny housewife...I never reported anything about that particular night at the movies.”

On Kennedy’s mistresses: “My friends have always had trouble believing my innocence of his [sexual] activities, especially after it was revealed that Tony’s [Bradlee’s second wife Antoinette “Tony” Pinchot] sister, Mary Meyer, had been one of Kennedy’s girlfriends. So be it. I can only repeat my ignorance of Kennedy’s sex life, and state that I am appalled by the details that have emerged, appalled by the recklessness, by the subterfuge that must have been involved.”

On Jackie Kennedy: “When we had started friendship as a foursome, I first thought of Jackie as one of the Beautiful People — shy, perhaps careful, diffident, enormously attractive, and bright. And I was a little scared of her....In a matter of days [of meeting JFK], I had felt comfortable with Kennedy, sure that he instinctively understood the complicated perimeters of our friendship and the conflict between friendship and journalism. But in all the time I was close to them, I felt Jackie never quite forgave me for trying to be a journalist and a friend at the same time...[After JFK’s assassination] our friendship, which had always been a foursome, didn’t work as a threesome.”

On the decision to publish the Pentagon Papers after a federal judge had enjoined the New York Times from publication: “I knew exactly how important it was to publish, if we were to have any chance of pulling the Post up — once and for all — into the front ranks. Not publishing the information when we had it would like not saving a drowning man, or not telling the truth. Failure to publish without a fight would constitute an abdication that would brand the Post forever as an establishment tool of whatever administration was in power. And end the Bradlee era before it got off the ground, incidentally.”

On Watergate: “When it finally happened, when the president said, ‘Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow,’ I remember folding my hands together between my knees and laying my forehead down on my desk for a very private ‘Holy Moly.’...Nixon — not the Post — ’got’ Nixon, but the Post’s reporting forced the story onto the national agenda, and kept it there until the world understood how grievously the Constitution was being undermined.”

On the lessons of the Janet Cooke affair: “There really is no protection against a skillful liar, who has earned the trust of his or her editor. That is equally true of business, law, medicine, all professions...[Also] beware of stories you want to be true, for whatever reason...Double-check the one about the crooked politician, the arsonist fire chief, the philandering religious leader, the debutante madam. Then check them again.”

On his life: “I dared try my hand at a memoir only when I began to realize that I really had been dealt an awfully good hand by the powers that be. A hand that gave me a ringside seat at some of the century’s most vital moments. A hand that allowed me to make an ad­ven­ture out of the Depression, illness, and war, and a romance out of newspapering.”

On looking back: “I miss the times when a story just plain consumes the readers, when people seem to talk about nothing else, whether it’s momentous, like Nixon resigning, or simply extraordinary, like Lorena Bobbit cutting off her husband’s tallywhacker...I miss the excitement of stories that quicken your pulse. That’s when a newspaperman can get on with the job he was born to do. Not many of us were lucky enough to get that exhilarating opportunity. Again and again and again.”