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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warts, wrinkles and all
Jan Reid's book about Ann Richards is a wonderfully entertaining biography, and a lot more. Ann and her then husband David Richards were at the center of just about every important political and cultural fight in the Fifties and Sixties in Texas, and although they often came out on the losing side, they had a hell of a good time. The first two-thirds of this book cover...
Published on October 24, 2012 by Terry Weldon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Ann Richards was always an excellent speaker. Her governorship was mediocre
An election that was really won be default in 1990 in a plurality narrow victory, Ann Richards was always an excellent speaker. Her governorship was mediocre. She introduced the maligned Robinhood school finance bill and denied Texas a concealed handgun bill. She ballyhooed the Texas lottery but stated it would go to education, but instead it went to the general fund...
Published 1 month ago by James C. Kingsmill


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warts, wrinkles and all, October 24, 2012
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This review is from: Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (Hardcover)
Jan Reid's book about Ann Richards is a wonderfully entertaining biography, and a lot more. Ann and her then husband David Richards were at the center of just about every important political and cultural fight in the Fifties and Sixties in Texas, and although they often came out on the losing side, they had a hell of a good time. The first two-thirds of this book cover extensively that era, with its shenanigans and capers lovingly recalled. The last third is for the most part about Governor Richards's successful campaign and her less successful one-term election to the office and although Reid was friendly with Richards and although his wife was her longtime employee, Reid outlines her shortcomings as Governor and as campaigner against George W. Bush, whose election led to his presidency. She should have tried harder to beat him, but like a lot of people since, she misunderestimated him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, June 16, 2013
This review is from: Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (Hardcover)
This book explains how an outsider got into Texas politics--for the time that she did. And what she managed to accomplish with the resources she had at her disposal.

Beginning as a campaign worker for Sarah Weddingon, she later served on Travis County Commissioners Court and as State of Texas Treasurer. A strength of the text is that it does not gloss over her personal flaws. Having quit drinking and smoking with supportive help of friends, Richards herself easily conceded the recovery process is tough. She sincerely empathized with the challenges citizens faced in their daily lives. This woman captivated people specifically because she established common rapport---instead of trying to prove that she was 'hollier than thou'.

Richards came to national prominence (along with future president Bill Clinton) during the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. While Clinton stood out for his marathon speech, Richards was memorable for her demeanor.

Her common demeanor was so sincere that she honestly would under-estimate the serious threat which the 'son of a former president' posed through his gubernatorial campaign. Her organization mistook a small resume for lack of a viable political threat. So, the people lost their advocate in the Texas Executive Branch.

This part of the book gets retrospectively painful to read for those of us still missing Ann. A woman who had possessed such foresight for so long ended up squandering her re-election efforts. Yes, she did accomplish great things in her offices. But retrospectively, it wasn't the best campaign strategy which they could have possibly implemented. I'd hope that progressives study this part of the book especially if they are trying to keep their seats.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ann Richard...a people person!, February 17, 2013
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This review is from: Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (Hardcover)
My husband is the one reading the book at the moment, but he has shared so much of it with me I feel like I have read it. Roy and I have a huge advantage in this arena because we knew Ann and Dave when they were young and still living in Dallas. We were all "Yellow Dog Democrats" together. Ann and Dave are the real items. The book is well written and portrays a careing loving woman who was born to help the "poor and needy" She fought long and hard for ordinary folks. She is what she is...."one of a kind" The book tells it like it was. We all enjoyed the ride.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Homage to Her Life, November 24, 2012
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This book is wonderful! Jan Reid eloquently retells Ann Richards' life. This book includes some Texas history, political gossip, and supporting story lines around major events in her life. Reid captures Richards' wit, charm, and attitude. He brings her back to life and makes me wish she was still around today. I highly recommend this book for political literature enthusiasts as well as anyone looking to be inspired by a remarkable woman. Reid has done a beautiful job.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LBJ's famous quotation was true, unforunately..., January 30, 2013
This review is from: Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (Hardcover)
The biography of Ann Richards, by Texan Jan Reid, is one of the best political and personal biographies I've read. And I've read a lot of biographies of politicians and their places and times in history. But, while reading Reid's biography, I was struck as much by the story of the Texas Democratic Party and its decline in the last 50 years, as I was of Ann Richards life. Richards was part of the last hurrah of the Democrats; her defeat for reelection as Texas governor in 1994 by George W Bush was the beginning of the turn the state of Texas took from blue to red.

Lyndon Johnson famously declared, when he signed into law the civil rights legislation of the 1960's that "We have lost the South for a generation". The "we" he was referring to was, of course, the Democratic Party. Looking at today's electoral map, the south is almost a solid red. Oh, blue is creeping onto the map - Florida and Virginia went blue in the 2008 and 2012 presidential races- but Lyndon Johnson's sad prophesy is moving solidly into its third generation of voters.

But, back to Ann Richards. Born in 1933, the only child of a Waco lower middle class family, she was always a "star". Marrying her high school and college sweetheart, David Richards, she graduated from Baylor University and began a family with him as his law career began to take off. They eventually had four children - oldest daughter Cecile Richards is head of Planned Parenthood. David and she were part of the liberal wing of the Texas Democratic Party, which in the 1950's and 1960's was involved in Civil Rights and other progressive causes. The Richards and their friends partied hard - this was Texas, after all - and Ann eventually became an alcoholic. It was only after an intervention in 1980 by family and friends that Ann entered an substance abuse program in Minnesota and was sober for the rest of her life.

It was in the 1980's that Richards entered electoral politics as a candidate, rather than a behind-the-scenes adviser. She had been active in the campaign to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and in Roe v Wade court case. In 1980, she was elected state treasurer of Texas and made national headlines in her address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Elected governor in 1990, she lost reelection to George W Bush. She remained active, making speeches and involving herself in important issues before her death from cancer in 2006
.
Jan Reid has written a long and personal biography of Ann Richards. As the husband of Richards' aide, Dorothy Browne, he's been a long time observer - and participant - in Texas politics. His keen observations of the Texas - and national - political scene, seen through the spectrum of Richards' life and times, is a wonderful read. How those Texas Democrats loved to party and, at the same time, tried to improve the world around them. Reid's biography of Ann Richards is a deep and vivid look at a fascinating woman and the world around her in the years following LBJ's famous quote.

It's a must-read for any political junkie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Story of a Powerful Woman, January 9, 2013
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Ann Richards made me proud to be a Texan. Reading her story makes me even prouder of the woman, the politician, the feminist.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Tribute to a Great Lady, June 3, 2013
This review is from: Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (Hardcover)
Ann Richards was a great lady. I had the privilege of seeing her speak at an industry conference after she had stepped down as governor of Texas, and she was even better than she'd been at the 1992 Democratic convention (yes, I know that's hard to believe, but it's true). She not only demonstrated her great senses of humor and timing, but also showed her intelligence and compassion. I remember to this day being upset at her untimely death.

Jan Reid's book is a fitting tribute. While it is clearly a biography, it is also an affectionate personal reflection of someone who knew her, and that personal touch adds an indefinable something to the mix. At the same time, and to his credit, Mr. Reid isn't afraid to discuss Ms. Richards's alcoholism, her somewhat raunchy/vulgar mouth and other attributes that some may think of as negative. In other words, despite their friendship, he doesn't paint an overly rosy picture, And the book is an interesting and enjoyable read.

My criticisms fall into two categories - one is that the book is a bit too Texas-centric for this native New Yorker (even if I have now transplanted myself to South Florida). Of course, she was governor of the Lone Star State, and that can't be avoided. However, some of the ultra-Texan incidents/politics might have been summarized rather than gone into in such detail. My second criticism is the mirror image of one of the book's strengths - namely, that there were times when I might have preferred that Reid not include himself and/or his wife in the narrative.

However, overall this was a rewarding book and I'm very glad that I picked it up and read it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ann Richards was always an excellent speaker. Her governorship was mediocre, January 27, 2015
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James C. Kingsmill (Baytown, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
An election that was really won be default in 1990 in a plurality narrow victory, Ann Richards was always an excellent speaker. Her governorship was mediocre. She introduced the maligned Robinhood school finance bill and denied Texas a concealed handgun bill. She ballyhooed the Texas lottery but stated it would go to education, but instead it went to the general fund. True she overcame obstacles, but if you put a goat in a tuxedo, it's still a goat.

I mean no disrespect to the late Ann Richards. She wasn't a horrible governor, but she wasn't great either. This book should not elevate her to grandeur when she wasn't. She was popular figure. She wrecked her on reelection bid and that was her own missteps.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Biography of a Fascinating Person, October 16, 2013
This is a fantastic biography. Jan Reid does a masterful job of taking a very interesting and complicated life and and making it into a very fast-paced, detailed, and interesting story.

The real genius of this biography is the pace - he covers a ton of material but does so in a way that never gets boring; he moves quickly but comprehensively. Anne Richards is a historical figure who will be discussed for decades to come and this likely will become the defining biography of her. It is very good; I highly recommend it if you are interested in Texas politics and/or Texas history (or interesting political personalities). She has a helluva story and Reid retells it quite well. Bravo.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Profile of Texas Gov. Ann Richards, July 5, 2014
Anyone interested in Texas politics from the 70's through the 90's will enjoy the author's inside info, despite the lack of structure. Could have been edited down about 100 pages without losing what is a fine profile of Ann Richards
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Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards
Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards by Jan Reid (Hardcover - October 3, 2012)
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