THE LIFE AND TIMES OF RON BROWN by Tracey L. Brown

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF RON BROWN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Heart-warming rather than hard-hitting, this loving biography is by a self-proclaimed ""daddy's girl."" Writing in the first person, the author refers to the late secretary of commerce as ""Dad"" throughout, and the volume is more family history than chronicle of a public servant's career. Ron's shared experience with his son Michael on the scene as the Berlin Wall came down, for example, is briefly mentioned to introduce the truly significant event of the trip to Germany: visiting the house where Michael's parents lived when he was born. The close-knit life of the Brown family comes across as nothing short of idyllic, and there is no doubt that Tracey utterly adored her father. Even when faults are recognized--Ron's tendency to fall asleep at odd moments or his ineptitude as a driver--they are portrayed as endearing traits; the allegations of corruption that plagued his years in the Clinton administration are dismissed as groundless and politically motivated (the president, by the way, contributes an introduction to the book). Bracketed by accounts of the terrible day a plane crash took Ron's life and the grieving that followed is a survey of major life events: family background, school days, early career in the army, the Urban League, rainmaker at a Washington legal/lobbying firm, and political activities leading to the chairmanship of the Democratic Party and appointment as secretary of commerce. In perhaps the most objective passage of the book, the author recognizes the source of her father's success: ""Dad's ability to schmooze was unequalled."" There is no pretense that the agenda here is anything other than paying tribute, and given this candor, the book has an innocent quality that is charmingly sweet as well as irritatingly naive.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 1998
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Morrow