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Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and Politics Hardcover – August, 2004
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
From the Inside Flap
Denny Hastert is one of the most powerful men in America-and yet chances are you know little or nothing about him. And Denny Hastert likes it that way. Not because he has anything to hide, but because he doesn't care about who gets the credit, he just wants to get the job done for the American people.
In Speaker: Lessons from 30 Years of Coaching and Politics, Denny Hastert breaks his silence to tell a remarkable American story: of how he grew up among the fields of Northern Illinois, made a name for himself as a high school and collegiate wrestler, became a high school wrestling and football coach and civics teacher...and eventually found himself teaching, and learning about, civics in the most important forum in the world: in the United States Congress as Speaker of the House, the third most powerful man in government. Speaker is a true Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story, full of lived-in wisdom, funny anecdotes, and straight talk about what goes on in the "smoke-filled" rooms of congressional power. Along the way, you'll learn: * The secret of winning in politics: under-promise and over-produce (the reverse of what most politicians do) * The Hastert formula: Build a team, leave the spotlight to others, be honest, be fair, and stick to your objectives as tenaciously as a fullback hammering at the goal line * Lessons from wrestling: there's no one to blame but yourself if you get pinned * The shock of September 11-or actually, the non-shock: how Speaker Hastert kept Congress running smoothly during the crisis * How the Vatican could never find time to receive the Congressional Medal of Freedom that was voted for the pope-until it became clear that then-President Clinton would not be awarding it * Speaker Hastert's agenda for the next Congress Denny Hastert grew up in the back of a feed truck and still remembers, fondly, a boyhood spent of hard work and high dreams, of harvesting hay and of living in a state of upstanding, well-meaning people. That same sort of down home grit and determination, idealism, and belief in the goodness of America makes Speaker one of the most refreshing, enjoyable, and enlightening political books of the year.
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Top Customer Reviews
Such was the case when Denny Hastert was given the position. And unlike some of his predecessors, he has not become a nationally known, or perhaps reknown is a better word, figure.
In this book, he talks about how he got to where he is: sixteen years as a government and history teacher at the high school in Yorkville, Illinois. In addition he coached football and wrestling, and sometimes drove the school bus.
He writes that the best training to become speaker of the house is to drive a school bus. "You're got to (1) keep the bus on the road, (2) keep your eye on the kids in the rear-view mirror, and (3) watch your back." As he says, "Hearding cats."
The toughest job: "teaching sixteen-year-old kids the basics of economics" was his original answer, now he says: "Teaching economics to some Members of Congress."
This book reads like a novel. It's too easy to say to yourself, "I'll read one more page before turning out the light." It leaves you with a better understanding that Congress is just people. People who have different ideas perhaps, but who have to work together to get anything done. It's quite a book.
Speaker Hastert and I grew up a short ride from each other (two of my cousins grew up just minutes from his childhood home). We were both wrestlers at one time in school. But, those are not the reasons why I like him so much.
Congressman Hastert is, unlike many of his peers, a man of integrity. He's also got a great deal of common sense and no delusions about himself. You can't help but respect him, and I would respect him if he were still working on a feed truck in a small Illinois town rather than holding the third highest position on Capitol Hill. He is that kind of man.
Talking to "Denny" (as he prefers to be called), you understand a few important things about the man:
*He knows what he believes and why.
*He does not make excuses.
So, what about this book? Well, it's a very hard book to put down. You find yourself glancing at the clock and saying, "OK, just one more page."
Denny is candid and honest. Unlike Bill Clinton, he did not write a bloated, self-aggrandizing tome of excuses for failure and try to make it sound like success. Instead, he speaks from the heart and engages you. Oddly, though the book is about him, it isn't about him. And neither is the way he's conducted himself in public office.Read more ›
As a private school educator myself, I felt a special kinship to him; now that I know him better, I feel I will better understand the situation he faces in the dog-eat-dog political world of Washington, D.C. One final comment. If nothing else, this book confirmed to me that our national political system is filled with holes, especially in the colloboration between the two main parties. The tricks played by the parties--and I have to say, most of the blame appears to lie at the feet of the Democrats--just to make the other side look bad is, in reality, bad for America. What can we do? Vote those who are the rascals out and get some work done. Let's cooperate, people, and quit with the individual agendas that single out special interests.
Amazing. Gotta read this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A remarkable book which unfortunately needs to be brought up to date with Hastert's criminal behavior. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Peter Van Der Linden
A remarkable book which unfortunately needs bringing up to date with Hastert's criminal behavior. Hastert 'Duggared' a male student at the school while Hastert was a teacher... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Wendy L.
I bought this as a Gift for a friend. He is very interested in Politics. He really enjoyed it. Lots of Political History.Published on August 23, 2013 by Carolyn A. Shafer
The Speaker would be a great neighbor. I'm sure his friends, family, and neighbors are extremely proud of the Speaker and rightly so. Read morePublished on March 28, 2005 by Michael Heath
It seems to me that we overweight the past with a significance it never had when it was the present. Read morePublished on December 22, 2004 by Craig Matteson
I tend to read a lot of political books from both sides of the political spectrum by both politicians and pundits. Read morePublished on December 18, 2004 by John G. Hilliard