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All the Presidents' Spokesmen: Spinning the News--White House Press Secretaries from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush Hardcover – March 30, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0275990985 ISBN-10: 0275990982

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All the Presidents' Spokesmen: Spinning the News--White House Press Secretaries from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush + Managing the President's Message: The White House Communications Operation + The Presidency in the Era of 24-Hour News
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (March 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0275990982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0275990985
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,363,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"All the President's Spokesmen, is the first to explore in such breadth the complex and often tense relationship between presidents, presidential press secretaries and the reporters who cover the White House….This is wonderful stuff if you're interested in such things and you won't hear any of it at the next press conference."


Westport News

"Klein, former New York City Mayor John Lindsay's press secretary, explains how the role of presidential press secretary has evolved from the public relations directors known to FDR and Truman to the spinmeisters of recent administration….He organizes material by topics that include the Cold War, presidential scandals, domestic crises, and global issues….This book is a welcome marriage of well-researched scholarship and an engagingly fresh style. Most sections are well documented, and there is an extensive bibliography. Recommended for public and academic communications collections."


Library Journal

Book Description

Explains how White House press secretaries have for decades developed the art of shaping the news in their daily press briefings to reporters in favor of the president—the highly sophisticated, complex communications strategy popularly known as spin.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Karlis Streips on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a political journalist, and I looked forward to this book with great anticipation around Christmastime. The great aspects of the book are several in number. First of all, for anyone who has followed American politics, many of the people in Woody Klein's book are known quantities. That is to say, everyone has seen Ronald Ziegler evading and lying through his teeth, Marlon Fitzwater yucking it up, Ari Fleischer being combative and, tragically, Jim Brady lying in a puddle of blood on a sidewalk. Mr Klein's book fleshes all of these people out beyond what we already know from having seen them on TV a million times, and that is wonderful. The second thing is that the author has chosen to divide the book up not by press secretary, offering a short biography of each, but by issue, examining the way in which press secretaries react to categories of occurrences such as domestic crises, the Cold War, global issues and presidential scandals. I consider that to be an excellent way to present the information. Third, the book contains quite a few excerpts from actual press conferences, and that provides a really stellar look at the give-and-take in the relationship between the White House press corps and the press secretary of the day -- combative in some instances, jovial in others.

The four, not five stars are due to something that absolutely drives me mad -- the apparent failure of anyone to proofread the damn thing! Once again fulsome praise is given in the acknowledgement section to lists of editors who apparently should all be sacked for incompetence. In just one paragraph of "All the President's Spokesmen" we find the sentence "Bill Moyers [..] has since become one of the nations most highly respected television commentators" and "...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Henry Vere on October 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. The author has clearly done the research and work to create a very readable, accessible book. I especially enjoyed how the history and evolution of the press secretary's role itself was traced, all the way from Roosevelt to the end of the Bush administration.

And, as the other reviewer mentioned, the way the book was arranged, by challenges faced rather than simply chronologically really made the book even more interesting. It was good to see and hear the story from the other side things, so to speak. I did find myself a bit more sympathetic to what this very tough job entails, although I still found it difficult to stomach much of what the Bush administration presented as it's take. I've always felt they were the masters when it came to double-speak and spin.

Perhaps because they did their job so well and the press lost its way in those years, We the People lost in so many ways. I guess I was waiting for the author to get tougher on them. He never did, but this was still a book well worth the time.
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