I’ve finally finished Robert Schlesinger’s White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters (click here to view all my posts about this book); once I made some time for reading it was a breeze to get through.
And my final verdict: this book is a winner!
As a young person born after most of these president’s governed, I enjoyed learning more about our nation’s presidents. I also liked learning about the roles of Chris Matthews, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Peggy Noonan, James Fallows, and other familiar figures through different administrations.
I especially appreciated reading about Eric Liu (who thoughtfully expressed the confusion anguish many Asian American’s feel about their heritage and cultural identity in his memoir The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, which I read in 2002) and Rahm Emmanuel and their roles in the Clinton administration.
Schlesinger convinced me of the importance of presidential speechwriters; as he tells it, Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush failed to win second terms (and Bill Clinton contributed to the Republicans winning control of the House and Senate and George W. Bush’s election to governor of Texas in 1994) largely because they did not view presidential speeches as serious business.
And serious business it is. An effective leader must have excellent communication skills or will fail to effect change. So while some have derided Barack Obama for his eloquent prose, I believe it will make him a better president.
Click here to visit the official website for the White House Ghosts, here to read an excerpt on the publisher’s website, or here to view the table of contents.
Posted in American History, History, Reading, White House Ghosts, Writing
Tagged Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Chris Matthews, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Eric Liu, George Bush, James Fallows, Jimmy Carter, Peggy Noonan, Rahm Emmanuel, Robert Schlesinger
I don’t know much about the High Plains Dust Bowl of the 1930s, so I’m interested in reading Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, a National Book Award winner in 2006 (also in 2006 it won the Washington State Book Award and the Oklahoma Book Award) – click here to read Elizabeth Royte’s December 2005 review titled “The Anti-Joads.”
Timothy Egan is a reporter for the New York Times and I seem to gravitate towards books written by the Times staff.
The Table of Contents looks promising…
Introduction: Live Through This 1
I • PROMISE: The Great Plowup, 1901–1930
1. The Wanderer 13
2. No Man’s Land 32
3. Creating Dalhart 52
4. High Plains Deutsch 59
5. Last of the Great Plowup 73
II • BETRAYAL, 1931–1933
6. First Wave 91
7. A Darkening 103
8. In a Dry Land 115
9. New Leader, New Deal 128
10. Big Blows 136
III • BLOWUP, 1934–1939
11. Triage 145
12. The Long Darkness 155
13. The Struggle for Air 171
14. Showdown in Dalhart 176
15. Duster’s Eve 193
16. Black Sunday 198
17. A Call to Arms 222
18. Goings 236
19. Witnesses 242
20. The Saddest Land 254
21. Verdict 265
22. Cornhusker II 273
23. The Last Men 279
24. Cornhusker III 293
25. Rain 303
Notes and Sources 315
Click here to read an excerpt of the first chapter.
Yay for Obama!
As an alumnus of Punahou School and as an American, I am ecstatic and proud about Obama’s victory tonight!
If you haven’t read either of his books — Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream – I highly recommend them.
I’ve listened to the audio version of Dreams from My Father and it is fantastic! Every bit as wonderful as you’d except from a Grammy winner — Obama’s ability to do voices (including those of his Kenyan relatives) is unbelievable.
I haven’t finished The Audacity of Hope yet but will try to do so before Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009!