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Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Second Edition edition (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743253981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743253987
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,156,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Harvard professor, Washington power broker and former Gore 2000 campaign chair Donna Brazile's life might make for a pretty entertaining Hollywood movie if an actress could be found gutsy enough to take on such a complex and intimidating leading role. From humble blue-collar Louisiana beginnings as one of nine children, Brazile went on to organize voter registration drives, marches to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., and ultimately national political campaigns. In her memoir Cooking With Grease, Brazile shares candid perspectives on her employers and causes. And while Mike Dukakis and Dick Gephardt fans will be pleased to know their men are included, it is the insights on the charismatic preacher/activist/presidential candidate Jesse Jackson and Al Gore, whom Brazile insists won the controversial 2000 election, that make this a must read for devotees of modern political history. Her accounts of being backstage in the Gore camp shed valuable light on the tense political climate of that year's election and post-election recount mess in a way that only a select few from either the Bush or Gore campaigns could legitimately offer. Still, none of the candidates shine quite so brightly in this book as the author herself. Washington is, after all, operated, with a few exceptions, by moneyed white men and for a black woman from a humble background to succeed requires determination, a quick wit, and a powerful intellect. As Brazile climbs the political ladder, those qualities come in to sharp relief. But while Cooking With Grease is inspirational, and Brazile really ought to be auctioning the film rights if she hasn't already done so, it doesn't preach, inspiring by example rather than exhorting the reader to follow Brazile's own course of action. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

Brazile's lifelong love affair with politics culminated in September 1999, when she became Al Gore's presidential campaign manager. She was also the first African-American woman to head a mainstream national presidential campaign. Both achievements are the subject of this lively, sometimes moving memoir. After joining the Dukakis campaign at age 21, through wise strategy choices and sheer ability, Brazile carved out a place at the table with the primarily male, white, middle-aged political elite. Her colorful observations about the high-profile politicians she met (black and white) are often entertaining, although she tries not to slam the door on potential future campaign positions. Bill Clinton "had the mind of six men..."; Rev. Jesse Jackson "was brilliant in terms of politics and he was a master of manipulation when it came to the media." Yet for all the insider look at the Gore campaign, the book's strength is Brazile herself, a self-described "abrasive Black woman." And while some may find self-serving her penchant for distancing herself from the Gore campaign's mistakes, readers will respond positively to the loving description of her Louisiana roots, her remarkable sense of purpose and her fierce loyalty to friends and family. Being a black woman informs all of Brazile's experiences, and readers get an invaluable glimpse of what it is like to be who she was, where she was, during one of America's most tumultuous political moments.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I started reading this book and could not put it down.
S. K Koitaba
The stories of her extended family are a joy to read, full of detail, humor and warmth.
kate in nm
This is a great book for anyone who enjoys autobiographies.
M L Hunter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought Brazile's book with the hopes of gaining an understanding of the inside scoop of Gore's campaign, and not only does the book deliver on that front, but it gives a wonderful insight into the life of a dynamic organizer who is literally the "American Dream" personified. She rose from poverty in the segregated south to running a campaign in which she was responsible for turning out the most democratic votes ever. Gore won the popular vote at the hands of this political genius. I do not understand the review from MD, as it seems that he has not read the book, or he would know the complexity of the situations for which he admonishes Brazile for. A smart reader will learn that many strategic decisions were made by a handful of paid consultants, and not endorsed by Brazile herself. Read this book if you truly want to have an understanding of what it means to be an American, and especially a studied voter.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. K Koitaba on August 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book and could not put it down. It is a very interesting read and gives an insight on how important voting is. Every true (and I mean EVERY!!) patriot should read this book. I have always watched her on CNN and wondered what was behind her; now i know. To Donna, you are simply the greatest of all time!!!!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William J. Robinson on July 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Hundreds of "insider" political biographies have been written over the last few years. This book gives a very accurate and insightful look at what actually goes on at the highest levels of national politics, with a minimum of "spin." Unlike many others, Brazile has few axes to grind and spends little time shining her own reputation. I found the chapters about her early years more compelling than those written by Bill Clinton about his early life. This is an important book to read now, but it may be even more valuable to historians years from now in their attempt to understand this period of US history.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By S Collins on July 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book! Ms. Brazile offers a very telling view of her life growing up in Louisiana, and her extensive career in politics. The secrets she revealed in this book both amazed, and inspired me. Donna Brazile is certainly one of the great women of our time, and she reaffirms my belief that America truly is the land of opportunity. I highly recommend this book.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Brazile's book and am more inspired than ever to get involved in the 2004 election. Donna Brazile's life has been remarkable so far. This book should be required reading in every high school and college. Brazile not only demonstrates how tenacity, hard work, and a little spunk can get you from almost nothing, to having one of the most powerful jobs in America - campaign manager to a major presidential campaign- but she does so with ease. The book flows beautifully. It's honestly a page turner, that will not leave you wondering how many pages you have to go until the end. This is a quick read, and it packs a punch. Whatever your political leanings may be, you will find this book inspirational and will come away respecting one of America's greatest living treasures.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DrAnitra on July 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book and am ecstatic to report that it provided a fantastic glimpse into the machinery of American politics and those who ensure that it operates in a well-oiled manner. Brazile is unique in her ability to tie in her compassion, knowledge, and life with the issues with her politics and strategy. Thank you for sharing your life, Ms. Brazile! I am grateful for committed and passionate people like yourself that represent the voiceless. Thanks for transforming politics so that it serves many. Keep the faith!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By thesavvybamalady VINE VOICE on June 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am really enjoying this sisters story. One can appreciate the road and sacrifices she endured to help some of this country's Presidential candidates run for the highest office. Truly inspiring and very interesting especially with the cooking segment thrown in.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Lynch on September 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In Cooking With Grease, Donna Brazile shows she can bring home the political bacon on a local and national level, using her God given ability to connect with and organize people from all walks of life for a favorable political and social end. From her humble beginnings in Louisiana, when at the age of 9 she became involved in grassroots organizing for a city councilman, to the apex of her career as campaign manager for Al Gore, Brazile championed "family values" without ever using the phrase. Brazile's story of politics and power is interwoven with stories about her religious beliefs, intimate details of her family relationships and glimpses of the family lives of politicians with whom she worked.

For anyone seeking to understand this highly regarded and complex woman, Cooking With Grease will give you an eye opening view of her. Her rise to political power begins with the matriarchs of her family, her grandmother and mother and creshendo's with the patriarch, her father. Her absolute affection, loyalty and devotion to Rev. Jesse Jackson caught me by surprise, but is noble.

I liked the book because it really affirmed Tip O'Neil's saying that all politics is local. Brazile and others like her add a litle spice everynow and then and help keep the Democratic party well seasoned.
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