THUMBS UP: The Life and Courageous Comeback of White House Press Secretary Jim Brady by Mollie Dickenson

THUMBS UP: The Life and Courageous Comeback of White House Press Secretary Jim Brady

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An authorized account of Reagan's former Press Secretary, Jim Brady--his near-murder at the hands of John Hinckley and of his long path to recovery--by free-lancer Dickenson. The author had complete access to both Brady and his wife, and the result is a very intimate account of the affable Press Secretary's struggle. The irony that stands out above all is that on the morning of that fateful day in March 1981, Brady repeatedly deferred to his assistant, Larry Speakes, to accompany Reagan to the Washington Hilton. It was only at the last minute that he stuck his head in Speakes' office and said, ""I think I'll go on file traveling circus today, after all."" Another irony: Brady was most needed even as he was incapacitated, as the author shows by quoting transcripts of the confused reports of the three networks, all of whom within minutes of each other announced Brady's death on the air. But his situation was grave enough. Unfortunately, Dickenson goes on too long about all this--in fact, she causes a reader's condition that Brady himself referred to during a press briefing as MEGO: ""my eyes glaze over."" The reader plods through over one third of the book before getting to the main subject--Brady's rehabilitation. Then the author takes us behind the scenes as Brady undergoes painful exercises and months of work at the gymnasium until, six years later, still officially the President's Press Secretary, he is able to report to his White House office every Friday. Dickenson may not be the best biographer for Brady, but thanks to flashes of Brady's still-keen wit, the book lives. When told by his wife of Hinckley's failed suicide attempt, he quipped, ""Maybe we should send him a how-to kit and include a razor blade."" Colorful, conversational, enhanced by Brady's wit and charm.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1987
Publisher: Morrow