DA Book Club Edition: White House Ghosts
Posted by Heather Hurlburt
For years, I have been telling aspiring writers that Peggy Noonan's What I Saw at the Revolution is the best book on White House speechwriting, and for years been getting funny looks back from people who know her mostly in her Jesus-sent-dolphins-to-save-Elian Wall Street Journal phase. (I learned a great lesson on how the Web works when my positive mention of it from early Arsenal days went up on a million right-wing websites.)
Now, I'm happy to say I can recommend a progressive: Robert Schlesinger's White House Ghosts, just out, combines a good look at history with the kind of you-are-there nuggets that I prize in Noonan's writing style. His stuff on the 1960s -- when his father wrote speeches for Kennedy -- is particularly worth perusing in light of the situation we are in today, and for anyone thinking ahead about what a next administration will face and how it can succeed or fail.
It costs me something to write this, I have to admit -- I had a lengthy interview with the author, the tape of which was later lost. So, contrary to all Washington rules, I am plugging a book in which I ought to appear but do not.
Still a great read.