A Biography
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A balanced and insightful account of the life of the Vice President from a Washington correspondent for Newsweek.

Turque begins in Nashville in October 1999 with a snapshot of candidate Gore, a man who has "squandered his advantages

with such breathtaking speed." The Vice President has just moved his headquarters to Nashville from Washington, a move that

is both practical and powerfully symbolic of his desire to distance himself from Beltway politics (and especially from the culture

of scandal that has damaged the Clinton administration). We are then offered a quick account of a grim evening in November

1970 when Senator Albert Gore Sr. was defeated for reelection before returning to a chronology of the younger Gore’s career.

Turque gives compelling portraits of Gore’s parents (the Vice President’s mother was the only woman in Vanderbilt Law School’s class of 1936) and paints a largely sympathetic view of his subject as he plods through school (St. Albans) and college (Harvard).

Turque does not hesitate, however, to share some details of Gore’s adolescent sex life and restrained experimentation with

marijuana (yes, he inhaled). He acknowledges Gore’s courage in volunteering for military service during the Vietnam War, and

he clearly admires Gore’s intelligence and tenacity. But he chides the Vice President for some of his character flaws—specifically

for inflating his accomplishments (the famous claim to have invented the Internet) and for a "zeal for election money in 1996

[that] eroded his judgment, sense of propriety, and usual attention to detail." Turque writes with the confidence born of exhaustive

research (although both Al and Tipper Gore refused requests for interviews) and only occasionally slips—as when he twice

employs the same folksy simile: "like a piece of chewing gum on the sole of his shoe."

A fluid, intelligent biography—both comprehensive and comprehending. (20 b&w photos, not seen) (First serial rights to


Pub Date: March 23rd, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-88323-7
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2000