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POLS: Great Writers on American Politicians from Bryan to Reagan Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 30, 2004

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 30, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Culling together a wonderfully eclectic mix of political prose, Beatty, a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly, has produced a discerning reader that gives voice to America’s civil servants: urban and rural, famous and infamous. Beginning with C. Vann Woodward’s detailed account of Populist Tom Watson’s devolution from unifying agrarian rebel to lynch-defending racist, and ending with a colloquial, if choppy, excerpt from Richard Ben Kramer’s chronicle of the 1988 presidential campaign, What It Takes, the collection features selections from a veritable who’s who of noted historians and novelists. H.L. Mencken’s delightfully vicious dissection of Warren Harding’s 1921 inaugural address—a speech "so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it"—highlights Beatty’s ability to mix cleverly written commentary with straight historical reportage. Elsewhere Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., weighs in on Dwight Eisenhower, David McCullough analyzes Harry S. Truman, Richard Hofstadter examines Herbert Hoover, and Philip Roth and Norman Mailer take on Tricky Dick and JFK, respectively. While the collection is diverse, some of the selections lean towards the obvious (pieces on Reagan’s humor, Kennedy’s charisma, etc.), and others have been cut-and-pasted too roughly from their original sources (the sections on Truman and Bush Sr. are particularly bumpy). Overall, however, Beatty’s compendium reveals a reverence for our nation’s policy-makers—the crusaders and crooks alike—as well as for the belle lettrists who brought them alive for the American public.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A compelling compendium. Whether you are a blue, red, or purple voter, 'Pols' will help you laugh at political behavior..." -- San Antonio Express-New

"Take a breather from the crush of current political news and read through this collection of work by wonderful writers." -- Chicago Tribune

"The contributors' bold imagination, wit, and critical judgment set a very high standard..." -- Columbia Journalism Review

"a terrific read on some of the 20th century's most compelling political figures." -- Boston Phoenix --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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More About the Author

John Aloysius Farrell ( was born and raised in Huntington, New York and suburban Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Virginia and embarked on a prize-winning career as a newspaperman, most notably for The Denver Post and The Boston Globe. He has covered every presidential campaign since 1976, two wars and the troubles in Northern Ireland. He moved to Washington for the Globe and served as White House correspondent and Washington editor, among other assignments. He has also driven an ice cream truck, shined shoes, waited tables, cared for the animals in a medical laboratory, worked as a construction worker, labored on an Israeli kibbutz and served as a gallery guard at the Masters golf tournament. In 2001 he published "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century," a biography of the late Speaker of the House which won the Hardeman prize for the best book on Congress. An excerpt was included in "Pols: Great Writers on American Politicians," a 2004 anthology edited by Jack Beatty. Farrell's biography of the great American defense lawyer, "Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned," won the 2012 Los Angeles Times book award for the best biography of the year. He is currently working on a biography of Richard Nixon.

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