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Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi's Life, Times, and Rise to Power Hardcover – April 29, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Times; First Edition edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594868077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594868078
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,424,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

  "All Americans should know Nancy Pelosi's remarkable story. This is a fascinating account of one of the nation's most fascinating political figures. No journalist has followed her more closely, and can tell her story better, than Marc Sandalow.'' —Willie Brown, former California Assembly Speaker and mayor of San Francisco
  "An illuminating portrait of the forces that shaped Nancy Pelosi and the way she wields power as the first woman to achieve the highest post in a male-dominated institution." —Eleanor Clift, contributing editor, Newsweek
  "This book is a wonderful insight into the first woman Speaker of the House. She is a modern pioneer whose life story is an inspiration to a whole new generation of women. And no one has followed her political career more closely than Marc Sandalow." —Leon Panetta, former White House chief of staff

About the Author

Marc Sandalow spent 21 years on the staff of the San Francisco Chronicle, the last 10 years as the paper's Washington bureau chief. He is currently a political analyst on KPIX-TV and KCBS radio in San Francisco. Sandalow is a coauthor of a book on baseball entitled Ballparks: A Panoramic History, and lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
I read at least 2 books a week and found nearly no substance in this particular read.
S. Doone
Marc Sandalow has done a superb job pulling together a coherent and well told story of the rise of Nancy Pelosi.
C. Williams
The life of Nancy Pelosi is very interesting and I encourage everyone to read her story.
Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Ryan on September 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Awesome book! The life of Nancy Pelosi is very interesting and I encourage everyone to read her story.
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19 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Peter Richardson on May 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This portrait of the nation's first female Speaker of the House is built for speed; its short paragraphs and newspaper style are probably the result of Sandalow's former day job at the San Francisco Chronicle. Readers expecting a full-blown, soup-to-nuts critical biography won't find it here, and the "Times" part of the subtitle isn't quite apt. This is Pelosi's life story, told quickly and effectively, but without the benefit of much retrospection or even cooperation from the subject or her staff. (Pelosi is planning to write a memoir.) For this more replete kind of biography of a San Francisco politician, the gold standard is still John Jacobs's *Rage for Justice*, which features Phil Burton, one of Pelosi's mentors.

Still, I enjoyed *Madam Speaker* and learned a lot from it. In fact, one of the things I learned is that Pelosi wasn't Burton's creature, though Burton's widow Sala essentially bequeathed her House seat to Pelosi on her death bed. Pelosi is quoted as saying that Phil Burton might not have supported that move. Interesting.

The other thing I learned is how much political savvy Pelosi picked up from her family in Baltimore. Her father was elected both to the House and as mayor, and he did retail politics the old-fashioned way--right in the neighborhood. In fact, he did a lot of it in the family home, which was frequently full of constituents seeking favors and whatnot. Pelosi's father also provides a good deal of the book's color. Her messaging is very disciplined; he was more willing to open up his game, and Sandalow records some of his zingers, at least two of which are laugh-out-loud funny.

The picture that emerges from Sandalow's biography is that of an organized, hardworking, business-like leader.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Hennessey on August 5, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
Edward Hallet Carr, in his seminal account of the study of history, What Is History?, writes, "History cannot be written unless the historian can achieve some kind of contact with the mind of those about whom he is writing." Yet, there exists a fine balance between a writer achieving disinterested contact with mind of those about whom one writes, and serving as an instrument in advancing or undermining the power of those about whom one writes. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. writings on the Kennedy years illustrate the danger of the later. Marc Sandalow's book Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi's Life, Times, and Rise to Power demonstrates the insight that can be achieved by the former. Sandalow's unauthorized biography draws upon years of critical reporting on Nancy Pelosi during his tenure at the San Francisco Chronicle. Years as a professional (and some times adversarial) questioner of Pelosi has yielded a narrative account of her rise to power that spares few punches yet unapologetically recognizes Speaker Pelosi's achievements where such recognition is due. E.H. Carr also wrote, "History is progress through the transmission of acquired skills from one generation to another." Speaker Pelosi has certainly acquired skills. Marc Sandalow's book is a reliable, objective, disinterested conduit through which those skills will be transmitted to a new generation of political leaders. This is a must read for those seeking to understand today's political environment, how a woman politician gathered and consolidated power, and where the Democratic Party will be heading in its recently-achieved post Clinton era.

Joseph A. Hennessey
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Williams on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Marc Sandalow has done a superb job pulling together a coherent and well told story of the rise of Nancy Pelosi. The stories of her childhood in Baltimore, her fathers accomplishments in the parochial neighborhoods of Baltimore and the lessons Pelosi seems to have learned about building relationships are well told and generally not well known about the San Francisco politician. Sandalow does an good job pulling together a coherent story of a women who has made a huge impact as the role of women in politics becomes a part of the American landscape. Would make an excellent book group choice for women seeking inspiration.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas McClurg on August 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Once I started "Madam Speaker," I stayed up until the wee hours before I could finally put it down. The book is written in an extremely lively style, enhanced by some great quotes, and is quite informative. I didn't know a whole lot about Pelosi before picking up this book, and was pleased that someone of such great responsibility came across as a competent, pragmatic, and principled public servant. The book is also a fascinating interesting portrayal of San Francisco in the 80's. I'd recommend it for anyone - not just political junkies.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Julian Mansfield on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book that fans of politics, history and popular culture will enjoy tremendously. Marc Sandalow has written a compelling tale of Nancy Pelosi's background and historic rise to power. I was especially taken by Sandalow's vivid description of Pelosi's Baltimore childhood in a highly political family and how she later applied those early lessons with such skill. A great read, full of insight, passion and wit.
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