"After a disaster," writes Sarah Brady, "you shouldn't try to go back and live exactly the way you did before." Brady has weathered the crippling of her husband by attempted Reagan assassin John Hinckley, the gun-control battle against the National Rifle Association, scorn heaped on her by pro-gun conservative pundits, raising a son with learning disabilities, and recurrent cancer. These hardships have taught her abundant lessons in how to conduct a political campaign and reckon with shortcomings and doubts, lessons she imparts throughout this highly readable memoir.
Those hardships have only steeled Brady's resolve both to win her battles and enjoy her time in the sun--a good fight indeed. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Readers get an intimate look at the events, both personal and professional, that shaped Brady's political career and the direction of U.S. gun legislation in this memoir of the lobbying life. She begins her story on March 30, 1981, when her husband, White House Press Secretary James Brady, was shot in an assassination attempt on President Reagan. His injury and recuperation, filled with close calls and setbacks, takes her on a journey that includes 15 years at the lobbying group Handgun Control, first as a volunteer, then as a board member and finally as its chair until 1996. Brady gives a detailed, suspenseful account of the struggle to pass the Brady bill, a handgun control law finally signed in 1993. Readers will take special interest in her recollections of high-profile politicians. Though she doesn't sling mud, Brady openly expresses her frustration with those who hindered the bill. A lifelong Republican (and an admirer of Reagan), Brady became disillusioned when Bush the elder effectively blocked passage of the bill, and she endorsed Clinton in 1992. Writing in unpretentious prose, she leads the reader from one fight to the next without stopping to feel sorry for herself even in the midst of husband's disability and her own current battle with lung cancer. The book will likely appeal to political enthusiasts and ardent gun-control supporters, and, though Brady is neither as iconoclastic nor as captivating a writer as Katharine Graham, fans of Graham's Personal History may enjoy this story of a determined woman in a male-dominated Washington. 8 pages b&w photos not seen by PW.
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