Monday, January 2, 2012

Political bestsellers now available @ your library

Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President by Ron Suskind

Kirkus Reviews –

Is it too early for a postmortem on Barack Obama? Not for Pulitzer winner Suskind (The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, 2008), who offers a damning picture of the president as a Man Who Could Have Been.
 The author characterizes Obama as a politician who blew a golden opportunity to deliver sweeping reform to a manipulative financial industry just when its bloated belly was turned to the sky. Although Obama was confident of his abilities as a candidate—having been prepped on the coming crisis by early supporters on Wall Street—as president it was a different story. According to Suskind, he was unsure where to turn for assistance, as angels and demons fought for his soul. The angels included Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren, who became “the nation’s town crier on the subject of bankruptcy and debt” and former Fed chair Paul Volcker, who advised Obama to take the “tough love” approach to the financial industry, even if it meant letting some of the dinosaurs die. The demons included Treasury chief Timothy Geithner, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and the egomaniacal National Economic Council head Larry Summers, who all counseled that any major initiative could shake “confidence in the system.” Not the most compelling explainer of the hard stuff—collateralized debt obligations, repurchase agreements, derivatives, credit-default swaps—Suskind sprinkles the final pages with a dim, faint hope that Obama has learned from his mistakes and regained his old passion. Whether that proves true or not, his own “Occupy Wall Street” moment has passed.

Most interesting as a clear-eyed assessment of the passion of Obama, or what remains of it, and also as a kind of elegy for an old financial world in which there was at least a semblance of ethical standards.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

Publishers Weekly -
This rendering of an oft-told tale brings to life a moment in the nation's history when access to the president was easy, politics bitter, and medical knowledge slight. James A. Garfield, little recalled today, gained the Republican nomination for president in 1880 as a dark-horse candidate and won. Then, breaking free of the sulfurous factional politics of his party, he governed honorably, if briefly, until shot by an aggrieved office seeker. Under Millard's (The River of Doubt) pen, Garfield's deranged assassin, his incompetent doctors (who, for example, ignored antisepsis, leading to a blood infection), and the bitter politics of the Republican Party come sparklingly alive through deft characterizations. Even Alexander Graham Bell, who hoped that one of his inventions might save the president's life, plays a role. Millard also lays the groundwork for a case that, had Garfield lived, he would have proved an effective and respected chief executive. Today, he would surely have survived, probably little harmed by the bullet that lodged in him, but unimpeded infection took his life. His death didn't greatly harm the nation, and Millard's story doesn't add much to previous understanding, but it's hard to imagine its being better told.

This Is Herman Cain!: My Journey to the White House by Herman Cain
From the publisher –
When Herman Cain speaks, people listen. When he debates, he wins.
If you care about the future of America, you have heard of the down-to-earth political newcomer running for president, the straight-talking man of the people with blunt assessments of what America needs. Originally overlooked by mainstream politicos and media, Herman Cain is truly a candidate from “outside the Beltway,” but no longer one who is being ignored.
While Herman Cain has been the host of a popular conservative Atlanta-area radio talk show called The Herman Cain Show, a different name originally captured American interest. As CEO, Herman Cain transformed Godfather’s Pizza from a company teetering on the verge of bankruptcy into a household word. Cain—as those with an interest in commonsense solutions to political problems will remember—is also famous for using the language and logic of everyday business to expose the fallacies inherent in Clinton assumptions about “Hillarycare” during a 1994 televised town hall meeting.
Herman Cain’s rise is the embodiment of the American dream. His parents, Luther and Lenora Cain, made a living the only way black people could in the ’40s and ’50s. Luther held down three jobs, including being a chauffeur; Lenora cleaned houses. They had two big dreams: to buy a house and to see their sons graduate from college. With dedication and hard work, they made both these dreams come true. In this thrilling memoir, Herman Cain describes his past and present . . . and the future he is determined to create, a future that will put our country back on track. His message resonates because he describes the American reality, and his down-to-earth personal tale of hope and hard work is both unforgettable and inspirational.


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