One of the few insider accounts of an American political campaign to successfully reveal the immense impact the process...

AMBLING INTO HISTORY

THE UNLIKELY ODYSSEY OF GEORGE W. BUSH

Insightful memoir of Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign by a New York Times correspondent.

Traveling with the candidate, Bruni initially found him superficial, childish, and largely unknowledgeable about world affairs—unprepared and even unmotivated to be president. As they became better acquainted, the journalist began to see and appreciate Bush’s basic goodness and kindness toward others, his flashes of wit and compassion, his devotion to family, the loyalty he engendered in friends and associates, and his deep religious faith. Bruni shares the fruits of many close encounters with the Bushes: wife Laura is either extremely reticent or very dull; Mom Barbara is not above making catty remarks about the Clintons; daughters Jenna and Barbara barely pay attention to the campaign; George W. himself gets painfully homesick for Texas and is likely to fly off the handle at anyone who gets between him and his favorite meal (a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich). The author offers sharp, informed views about the troubled nature of big-money politics, from the unhealthy predominance of spin over substance to the complicity of the reporters who know better but participate in the frenzy for breaking stories anyway. Bruni watches Bush mature first as a candidate, then as president; he begins and ends with discussion of September 11, favorably rating his response and growth under trying circumstances. Bush was not ideal presidential material, suggests the author, but he’s not much kinder to candidate Al Gore; Bruni’s conclusion seems to be that for a variety of reasons, Americans in the year 2000 wanted a president who did not seem particularly eager or qualified for the job. The subject and many of the incidents discussed here are familiar, but this economically written and tightly organized account is a pleasure to read.

One of the few insider accounts of an American political campaign to successfully reveal the immense impact the process itself has on shaping candidates and, in the end, public officials.

Pub Date: March 25, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-621371-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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