College of Arts and Sciences


  • People: Richard Young - Political Memoirs

    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."

    See Seattle Times for full article by Mary Ann Gwinn.


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