The score-settling memoir of a conservative who, in March 1989, became the first cabinet nominee of a new President ever to be refused confirmation by the Senate--an ignominy doubled because the defeat came at the hands of Tower's former colleagues. Despite the fact that he hails from Texas, where politics is a ""contact sport,"" Tower seems genuinely stunned by the acrimony his nomination inspired. While grudgingly conceding his own past excesses (there ""were infidelities"" during his first marriage, and he confined himself to wine drinking after the 1970's), Tower castigates a number of foes for hypocrisy. Chief opponent Sam Nunn of Georgia, one eye cocked toward the Oval Office, was ""blinded"" by ambition, and was himself arrested for drunk driving in the 1960's; lukewarm GOP defender John Warner was guilty of ""lack of focus and passivity""; the private life of NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell had itself been the subject of ""salacious gossip"" in the Reagan Administration; James Exert of Nebraska, one of Tower's only Senate accusers on the drinking issue, was ""one of the most excessive regular boozers in the Senate."" Tower is persuasive that most, if not all, of the drinking and womanizing rumors that put a cloud over his nomination were untrue, and that the Senate should clean its own house first. Yet this skilled parliamentarian and vote-counter barely acknowledges that he was so ferociously partisan in the Senate that he did not have a firm well of affection from his colleagues to draw on, and he totally dismisses real concerns about conflicts of interests that arose over his work as a consultant. Threaded throughout Tower's account of his confirmation imbroglio are his reminiscences of past service in the Senate and on the panel investigating the Iran-contra scandal--a disorganized and often pointless literary structure that fails to rescue this self-serving, sometime quite unbecoming, work.