November 19, 2009
Al Gore ("Our Choice") and Sarah Palin ("Going Rogue") are both
on book tours. What are some of the best political memoirs of the past? Seattle
Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn consults local political-science and history
professors to find out.
Richard Young, a professor of political science
at Seattle University, says some of the best political books come from people
who work for politicians. Case in point: the flood of books by/about people who
have worked for former President George W. Bush.
For an administration
loath to disclose much to the press, these former members of same, mostly
dedicated public servants who made key decisions and kept good records, now
can't shut up, to the delight of presidential scholars. "When you have 20 people
all saying the same thing, you begin to get a clear picture of what was going
on," says Young. One of the best books: "The Price of Loyalty," a chronicle of
former Bush treasury secretary Paul O'Neill's two years in the Bush
administration, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind.
As for the
"why write a book?" question, Palin clearly hopes "to cash in on her notoriety,"
Young says. "Her story is amazing; a year and a half ago she was just an obscure
Alaska politician. She's going to make money; at the same time, she's going to
be justifying her past actions and framing her visions."
full article by Mary Ann Gwinn.
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