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review 2018-06-30 00:00
Presidential Risk
Presidential Risk - Michael Bronte This book is so bad I can't force myself to finish reading it. I made it through the first several chapters just out of duty, but I can't do it anymore.

Why do I feel this way?

1. The book is disrespectful, bordering on offensive to pretty much everyone.
2. The book meanders so much, even though I made it to Chapter 11, pg. 74, I still don't know what's going on.
3. There is a fair amount of gratuitous violence and cussing.
4. There are strange references to people's race that don't seem to help with characterization. They seem to be there simply to show how "woke" the author is.

I've wasted enough time with this book. I'm out of here!
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text 2018-04-29 21:20
I will not buy your fucking book*
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership - James Comey
Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History - Katy Tur
Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling - Matthew Chozick
Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doom... Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign - Jonathan Allen,Amie Parnes

* with apologies to Josh Olson


To make money, and piles of it, off the mess you helped to create and which is hurting millions upon millions upon millions of people, is like killing your parents and then claiming mercy because you're an orphan.



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review 2017-11-18 15:09
Podcast #77 is up!
His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt - Joseph Lelyveld

My latest podcast is up on the New Books Network website! In it, I interview Joseph Lelyveld about his account of the last year and a half of Franklin Roosevelt's life and presidency. Enjoy!

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review 2017-08-15 00:00
Presidential Bargain (The Presidential Promises Duet )
Presidential Bargain (The Presidential P... Presidential Bargain (The Presidential Promises Duet ) - Rebecca Gallo There is something about an overbearing asshole I love in a story. I think because when the author writes a fabulous counter part, the heroine is an equally strong person I can relate to. Rebecca Gallo has hit the right notes with her debut novel in Jameson and Georgie.

Although the synopsis would indicate that it is a political romance, the story focuses on the microscope that once you reach the interest in the pubic eye. Poor Jameson and Georgie cannot catch a break. Once one thing finally gets smoothed over, it seems like another issue is waiting in the wings which is all played out for the entertainment of the masses. The plot is a based on 'fiancee for hire' and Jameson tries his damnedest to make sure that everyone is aware that his singular focus is on winning the White House. But when you spend quality time with someone, it's hard for the heart to not to get involved. In typical romance fashion, lovely and giving Georgie who falls hard first. Wishes- as weird as it may seem - I wish at times there could have been more tension between the two as Jameson was almost my perfect asshole. However, if we are discussing sexual tension, Ms. Gallo can write a steamy scene and make you feel oh so swoony.

To be honest, I rarely take a chance on a debut author unless I have a trusted friend go first . I was fortunate to have won an ARC along with a friend. We both loved it. Now...here's the trying-not-to-be-spoiler. If you stop at the last chapter, you will have a very satisfyingly entertaining read. If you venture to the epilogue...you get a NO WAY moment. And you'll be with me waiting for the release of Capital Promises this fall. For a debut author, Rebecca Gallo has talent and can't wait to see what she offers next! 4.25 out of 5 stars

photo four stars_zps5d4k637c.jpg
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review 2017-07-31 17:33
Paeans to my favorite books - VII: What It Takes
What It Takes: The Way to the White House - Richard Ben Cramer

This morning I opened Facebook to see one of my friends had posted this:



Now I get why he would post something like this. Joe Biden was a popular vice president (I suspect all of those Onion memes had a lot to do with this) whose candidacy would appeal to many of those white working-class voters who voted for Donald Trump last year. But it's not going to happen: even if you set aside his age (he will be 78 in 2020), there is another major impediment that would hobble his presidential hopes.


He is a seriously flawed campaigner.


For those of you who don't believe me, I strongly recommend reading Richard Ben Cramer's What It Takes. It's an account of the 1988 presidential primaries that, though a quarter-century old, has remained remarkable relevant, in no small measure due to the candidates the author chose to focus on; in addition to the eventual winners (Michael Dukakis and George H. W. Bush), he also followed the candidacies of Biden, Bob Dole, Gary Hart, and Dick Gephardt. Through a combination of biography and reportage he tries to understand what it was that led people to subject themselves to the grueling and often demeaning sacrifices of a presidential contest -- the campaigning, the attacks, the toll it takes on one's family and reputation. Yet it's not just the fortuitous selection of candidates (three of whom went on to become their party's nominee and two more of whom remained prominent politicians and presidential contenders for decades afterward) that makes it worthwhile reading, as Cramer's immersive approach and almost novelistic recounting of them captures many fleeting moments that offer fascinating insights when connected to the description of the personalities that he provides.


The result has been lauded as possibly the best book about political campaigning ever written, one that has inspired a generation of political journalists much as Theodore White's The Making of the President, 1960 did a generation previously, I've only read Cramer's book once (and then over two decades ago), but the understanding it provided into the people he chronicled has never left me. It's why I can say with confidence that if Biden were to run he would never get the nomination, because the things that made him so endearing as vice president (such his gaffe-prone bluster) are the same things that would derail his ambitions -- just as they did in 1988.

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