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Inventing Al Gore Paperback – November 7, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; First Edition edition (November 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618131604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618131600
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,973,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Bill Turque's biography of Vice President Al Gore will probably be remembered mainly for its charge that Gore smoked pot much more often in the 1970s than he has previously acknowledged. Yet this allegation--delivered by apparently credible sources--is just a tiny snippet from Gore's life story, as told by this Newsweek reporter. Turque begins with Gore's childhood years in Washington as the son of a senator and traces his steady climb to become the Democratic Party's favored candidate for president in 2000. The author admires Gore's liberal politics, but is also frustrated by what he considers the vice president's tendency to trim:
Gore is an usually thoughtful politician who has been an important, even prophetic voice on issues like global warming, arms control, and the changes wrought by the Information Age. But his life and career have also been punctuated by separations never quite achieved, and by bold strokes never quite converted into personal or political liberation.
Turque recounts a number of Gore scandals, most notably his questionable fundraising at Buddhist temples and heavy-handed calls to party donors (over which he famously claimed there was "no controlling legal authority"). And these stories clearly trouble Turque: Gore, like President Clinton, plays "games with the truth. But where Clinton's lies have been those of self-protection and survival, Gore's have by and large been ones of self-aggrandizement and glorification." Overall, Inventing Al Gore is a balanced and authoritative portrayal of a man whose most important years may lie ahead. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran Newsweek journalist Turque has produced a marvel of reportingAa dispassionate election-year biography without an agenda. In contrast to last year's fiercely partisan Gore: A Political Life by conservative pundit Bob Zelnick, Turque's book offers a balanced, insightful critique of the man who seems to have been groomed for the presidency from birth. ("We raised him for it!" Gore's father, a former U.S. senator, exulted in 1992 when he learned his son was headed for the White House as vice-president.) Turque shows how the pressure to succeed has shaped virtually every aspect of Gore's careerAfrom his decision to volunteer for service in Vietnam to his "Faustian bargain" with Clinton in 1992. The same ambition, Turque believes, has also led to Gore's most embarrassing missteps, including the 1996 fundraising scandals and his preposterous claim that he invented the Internet. The focus throughout the book is on Gore's record, although Turque can't resist a few speculations about the characteristics of a possible Gore presidency: Gore, the author predicts, would be a vigorous, high-minded executive, prone to techno-evangelism and moral exactitude; he would also tend to be ideologically inconsistent and politically tone-deaf. Sharply written and well researched, Turque's book laudably refuses to dismiss Gore as either a wooden caricature or the country's most famous beta male. It depicts him as a complex individual capable of both stalwart leadership, as when he stiffened Clinton's spine during the 1995 budget fight with Gingrich, and callous exploitation, as when he went against the wishes of his environmental constituency to aid a polluting paper mill during his 1988 campaign for president. This biography should be indispensable reading for anyone wishing to make an informed decision in the 2000 election. First serial to Newsweek. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Turque's style makes this a good read.
Jeffrey Leeper
If you want an unvarnished biography of Al Gore which leads up to his decision to run for President, this is the book for you.
Tribe fan
He was too cautious about being called a liberal that he bent over a bit too far the other way.
Betty Burks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Todd Winer on April 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bill Turque's biography of Al Gore is fair, informative, and well-written. In terms of comprehensiveness and analysis, it compares favorably with David Maraniss's biography of Gore's boss. Having read Turque's book, I'm struck by how contradictory Al Gore is as a person and as a politician. In many ways, Gore is even more complex and interesting than Bill Clinton. The title of the book, "Inventing Al Gore" accurately portrays Gore as a work in process; a man who continuously changes himself and his image even as he's redirected by political and societal forces. Turque portrays Gore and Clinton as ideological allies ("New Democrats") but it is striking how different their backgrounds are and the contrast in their personalities. Clinton was a product of a middle-class meritocracy whereas Gore enjoyed all the privildges of a political aristocracy. Clinton's father died three months before he was born. Gore's father was a large and powerful influence on his life and career. Clinton's ambition never deserted him whereas Gore - like many young men burdened by others' expectations - experienced an existential crisis early in life. Clinton's political career has been punctuated by character problems even as he dodges the gravest threats; Gore is the "Eagle Scout" whose slightest indiscretions stick to him like velcro (see Buddhist temple). On a personal level, Clinton is a people person who seems more comfortable on the campaign trail than as an executive behind a desk. Gore is the opposite. Indeed, Gore gives the image of a man completely uncomfortable in his own skin. Perhaps it is because he has reason to feel uncomfortable.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Gillespie on November 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Al Gore recently emerged from "mending fences" in Tennessee to launch a media-driven national charm offensive that he hopes will land him in the White House in 2004. Even though the former vice president seems more at ease these days as he exchanges barbs with the likes of David Letterman, Gore still comes across as uncomfortable and at times coached (did handlers teach him to laugh?) largely because he is the enigma Bill Turque describes in Inventing Al Gore: A Biography. For those who love and despise the former vice president, and for the vast majority in whom he inspires absolutely no emotion one way or the other, Turque's biography, written before the 2000 election debacle, remains relevant today. After you finish Turque's fair and balanced account of Gore, you will be pumped full of the substantive and trivial and won't be any closer to knowing who the former vice president is than you were in 2000, 1996, 1992, 1988, or last week on Larry King. This in no way detracts from Turque's biography, and if anything proves the author knew his subject is a mystery. Neither David Maraniss nor anyone else has been able to unravel this complex politician, and unlike Turque they didn't have the insight to know it is impossible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leeper on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This biography does just give lip service to the politician's childhood. The author explains the world in which Al Gore grew up. It describes pieces of his father's life in a way which shows you where Al picked up many of his mannerisms. You will see where the candidate came from.
After reading through this, I know that Al Gore is not as Green as his book would lead you to believe. He does listen to businesses and has accepted money. This is no different than any other candidate. This book brings all of this to your attention so that you can make your own informed decision.
The tone and flow are good. I had no trouble following the narrative or understanding what point the author was trying to make. Too often, an author has his own axe to grind and steps away from informing the reader so that the reader can make his or her own decision. Turque's style makes this a good read.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Susan Daniel on August 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I think that this is a biography worth reading whether you are a Gore supporter or not. The author has done extensive research and writes an evenhanded account of Gore's life. Gore comes out as a man like any other with his own share of conflicts. He does not come out badly. This is not a puff biography or a book intended to villify. It is well worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ron on February 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
seems evident in this book. I feel the author made an honest attempt to write an unbiased account of Al Gore. His strengths are demonstrated as well as his faults. The only weak spot in the book is that the 2000 election wasn't covered.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Writing of the 1992 election in which Bill Clinton and Al Gore prevailed with 43% of the popular vote, but with 370 electoral votes, Bill Turque notes:

“In the end, however, it was a collapse of faith in George Bush, rather than a great investment of hope in Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Polls showed that many voters remained skittish, with only a limited confidence in the new president-elect. In a sense, they struck the same pragmatic bargain that Gore had made when he became a running mate. Each threw in with a man whose frailties of character were in plain view but who offered other superseding benefits…. Whether he (Gore) would have his chance depended on the political marriage he had just begun. Gore had tied the knot – in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.”

This is not an ‘authorized’ biography of Al Gore. Gore and his then wife turned down all requests for interviews. However, more than 250 people were interviewed and many agreed to speak on the record. The acknowledgements, notes and bibliography take up a full 35% of the Kindle edition. Bill Turque researches deeply and widely and documents meticulously. The author was assigned by “Newsweek” to cover Al Gore as he campaigned in 1992 and 1996

Met Al Gore briefly when he was Vice President and came to Warsaw, Poland for the 50 year anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1993. As a military guy in the embassy was in charge of "meet and greet" (which we called "grip and grin") formalities at the military Airport and for the laying of the wreath at the tomb of the Polish Unknown Soldier. That doesn’t mean I was by the Vice President’s side, it meant I shook his hand twice then was a hanger on with Polish military counterparts helping to make sure things ran smoothly.
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