Obama Sparks Rash of Political Books with Range of Views, Coulter to Ifill
Slobbering Love Affair to Yes We Can, Authors Efforts Spill Literary Guts
January 25, 2009
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By: Dave Rogers
Prescott and George Herbert Walker Bush, titans of the Bush dynasty, profiled in the magisterial book "Family Secrets" by Russ Baker.
Says Photography Magazine: "The book's amazing sales are not surprising, considering how Obama's visage can turn any item to gold. But the quality of Scout Tufankjian's images alone makes it a worthy photo book."
The ink was barely dry on the 2008 Presidential election results when the presses began to run on new political books.
Angry Ann Coulter, who makes money by stirring up people with wild accusations, not unexpectedly tars liberals in her harangue entitled "GUILTY: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America." (Crown, $27.95).
She blames the press for being soft on Obama. Media Matters comments that the book contains numerous falsehoods including her defense of claims against Sen. John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; her assertion that "Fox News has never been caught promoting a fraud" and her claim that President-elect Barack Obama was referring to Gov. Sarah Palin when he said "you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig."
Gwen Ifill, on the other end of the political spectrum from Coulter, canonizes Obama in her book "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." (Doubleday, $24.95).
Comments Chuck Leddy in Boston.com: "Her analysis is a mile wide and just a few inches deep, and her chapters seem connected by a barely discernible thread.
"Ifill, host of 'Washington Week,' covers an array of electoral success stories, from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to Newark's Mayor Cory Booker to Obama himself, but she seldom gets beyond conventional wisdom. One of the things all these well-known names have in common is the ability to short-circuit white guilt. None of these popular figures seems to be pointing the finger of blame."
Brian MacArthur writes in the London Telegraph about David Sanger's book "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power" (Random House, $26.95):
"In North Korea Bush took a messy, dangerous problem and made it worse. Meanwhile, Iran has amassed enough partially enriched uranium to manufacture a single bomb: Obama will have to decide whether to live with a nuclear Iran or attempt -- by diplomacy, stealth or force -- to disarm it.
"America's best intelligence officials believe the first 12 months of Obama's presidency will be a period of critical vulnerability. America's rivals and enemies will seek to exploit the inevitable disruption caused by the transition of government.
"The conclusion that seeps from every page of 'The Inheritance' is that not only has George W. Bush bequeathed a total public debt of about $10.62 trillion, compared with a debt of $5.72 on January 20, 2001, but he has also left behind him a world which has greater peril for the US. We should not only say 'God bless America' but also 'God help Barack Obama!'"
Mr. Sanger is the chief White House correspondent for the New York Times.
NBC News veterans Chuck Todd, political correspondent, and Sheldon Gawiser, elections director, are out with "How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election" (Knopf, $12.95).
Says National Public Radio's Dave Davies: "Gawiser and Todd break down the data across demographics and political alignments, using measures like "The Bush Factor" -- how Obama fared in states where President George W. Bush's approval rating was low -- to tease out a sense of the American electorate and whether there's really been a sea change in American politics."
Buzzflash.com is lavish in praise for Russ Baker's "Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It In the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America" (Bloomsbury, $30):
"Shocking in its disclosures, elegantly crafted, and faultlessly measured in its judgments, Family of Secrets is nothing less than a first historic portrait in full of the Bush dynasty and the era it shaped. From revelation to revelation, insight to insight -- from the Kennedy assassination to Watergate to the oil and financial intrigues that lie behind today's headlines -- this is a sweeping drama of money and power, unseen forces, and the emblematic triumph of a lineage that sowed national tragedy. Russ Baker's Family of Secrets is sure to take its place as one of the most startling and influential works of American history and journalism."
Publisher comments are no less inflammatory: "After eight disastrous years, George W. Bush leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in American history.
"Russ Baker asks the question that lingers even as this benighted administration winds down: Who really wanted this man at the helm of the country, and why did his backers promote him despite his obvious liabilities and limitations?
"This book goes deep behind the scenes to deliver an arresting new look at George W. Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, their family, and the network of figures in intelligence, the military, finance, and oil who enabled the family's rise to power.
"Baker's exhaustive investigation reveals a remarkable clan whose hermetic secrecy and code of absolute loyalty have concealed a far-reaching role in recent history that transcends the Bush presidencies.
"Baker offers new insights into lingering mysteries -- from the death of John F. Kennedy to Richard Nixon's downfall in Watergate. Here, too, are insider accounts of the backroom strategies, and outright deception, that resulted in George W. Bush's electoral success. Throughout, Baker helps us understand why we have not known these things before. Family of Secrets combines compelling narrative with eye-opening revelations. It offers the untold history of the machinations that have shaped American politics over much of the last century."
Some political books require no more commentary than a recitation of the title, such as Bernard Goldberg's "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media" (Regnery, $25.95).
The same is true with Scout Tufankjian's "Yes We Can: Barack Obama's History-Making Presidential Campaign." You don't need to read it to catch the drift. (Powerhouse photo book, $29).###
Government Article 3490
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at email@example.com)
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