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Basic Brown Paperback – April 9, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
However, regardless of your political views, this is an excellent book for anyone interested in politics at all levels - city, state and national. I sure have enjoyed it.
Willie Brown has clearly mastered the art of power. If you have read books like Robert Greene's "48 Laws of Power," then as you read Willie's book, you will recognize that Willie has mastered probably all 48 of those laws and then some that didn't make it into either book. As a master of the game of obtaining and exercising power, it would be very wise to listen to and learn from this man.
Willie also offers many fascinating stories about all sorts of incidents from recounting his experience the day George Moscone was shot to how he got Reagan to sign legislation legalizing abortion in CA. You get a really cool glimpse into some of what goes on behind the scenes.
Like him or not, he is a big part of California (and even national) history, and he has some great stories and advice. This book is particularly valuable for anyone looking to get into politics as he offers advice specifically for such folks.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but coming from an extremely politically conservative guy, I heartily recommend this book written by a pretty far-left man.
A chance meeting made the difference in Brown's political life. By standing in alphabetical order at Air Force ROTC brought Brown standing next to, and befriending, John Burton. Burton, himself later a U.S. Representative, was the brother of Phil Burton, a powerful San Francisco politician. Phil helped Willie Brown run for office. Brown lost his first state legislative election in 1962 by 900 votes out of 31,000 votes cast. Brown kept campaigning and was elected in 1964. Ironically, he would vote against Jess Unruh, his future ally, for Speaker.
Willie Brown admittedly is a colorful politician. One of his political adages was "old age and treachery will always outdo youth and skill.Read more ›
He says that, "When I was coming up, I wanted to be just like Phil Burton: ideologically committed and superskillful at the game of acquiring and securing power." While my own political views overlap a good deal with his, I can't say that I feel the slightest camaraderie. There's not a half a sentence in this autobiography that indicates he ever troubled much about moral issues. He seems to have simply ran with whatever he picked up subconsciously.
Indeed, for all his liberalism, there is definitely a streak of patriarchal brutality to him: he spends a chapter on how much he loves his family but then ends by casually mentioning that he made sure all the property was in his name and not his wife's so she couldn't do anything to embarrass him. Likewise, he expected unquestioning obedience from everyone below him, swiftly punishing (his word) those who displayed independence and expressing glee at the bad end of anyone who ever crossed him.
A conservative reading this book would likely have the typical reaction people had to JR from the Dallas tv show in the 1980s: he's the man they love to hate. Brown reminds me of a local GOP operative I once interviewed. He was a nasty piece of work, but every Republican wanted to be his friend. They thought he could give them power, so they overlooked his sociopathic traits.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To understand California politics in the late twentieth century, one must understand Willie Brown. Brown is the ultimate political powerbroker; He makes Bill Clinton look like a... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Nemoman
This is the autobiography of Willie Brown, who spent 14 years as a powerful Speaker of the California House of Representatives. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Leon Czikowsky
he has been my lawyer for over 40 years and just a great guy. what I always say about Willie. "once you do him a favor, he will never forget it nor will he turn you down... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Lawrence Nelson
A biography and other references gave more insightful information into Willie Brown. I wanted more insight into his political view. Read morePublished on January 26, 2014 by lpvl
Recommended reading. Astute politician and leader. This is
the story of one of the nation's most effective leaders in one of
the nation's most popular cities.
This is not only a great book on California political history, but gives great in site into how politics works. Read morePublished on July 26, 2013 by P. VEASEY
Fantastic book explaining the behind the scenes story of one of the most incredible, larger than life Assembly Speakers that California has ever had. Read morePublished on June 19, 2012 by Smiley
I bought a slightly used book, but when it arrived it was vey used. it looks like someone was eating a greesey hambuger when they sold it to me. No more used for me.Published on April 1, 2012 by richard delena
A great read. Whether you agree or disagree with his view points he is never boring. He is the master. Read morePublished on August 1, 2010 by SFGate