TIME PRESENT, TIME PAST by Bill Bradley

TIME PRESENT, TIME PAST

A Memoir

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Highlights of the New Jersey Democratic senator and former professional athlete's life, thoughts, and accomplishments. An earlier memoir, Life on the Run (1976), described Bradley's experiences as a Princeton All-American and professional basketball player, and set the stage for his 1978 transition from athletics to the US Senate. This second memoir is a complex interweaving of memories, experiences, legislative accomplishments, and ruminations, leading to another transformation in Bradley's life: his decision not to run for re-election in 1996. This unusual memoir includes statements of policy on such matters as race, economic justice, the environment, campaign financing, tax reform, labor-management relations, and the role of government. Bradley justifies the inclusion of such disparate material by pulling everything into the context of his life: describing, for example, how his experiences playing with black basketball players shaped his commitment to racial equality and how his political principles stem from the sense of ethics and fair play with which he was raised. Bradley goes into almost numbing detail in describing legislation he has sponsored and gives too little space to intense controversies in his career, such as his support for Reagan administration policies in Nicaragua. In addition, cynics might charge that he has laid the groundwork for a future presidential bid by offering platform-like positions on such matters as welfare reform, abortion, and criminal justice, and advocating a ``third way'' that claims to reject the failed policies of both conservatives and liberals. But there are many more reasons to be impressed than critical of this memoir (every word of which Bradley apparently wrote himself). Bradley reveals how a politician operates and that's makes this book interesting. What makes it memorable is the way it reveals how political office can be a constant learning experience for a thoughtful politician. However limited that category of officeholders may be, this memoir proves that it includes Bill Bradley. (First printing of 100,000; Book-of-the-Month Club selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-44488-2
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1995