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Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor Hardcover – September 22, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews



New Book by Former Bush Administration Writer Hailed by Right
"Probably the most important political book of the year… [Matt is] one heck of a great conservative.  It seems to me [it is] getting a very good reaction from conservatives around the country… The last time I read a book that was this funny was Christopher Buckley's White House Mess."
Jed Babbin, Editor, Human Events
"Latimer comes across as honest...He's a deft writer, and has a good eye and a nice turn of phrase.  You may find yourself surprised by what he has to report.  I was. ... Let me simply admit that I was darned entertained by Speech-less...Latimer's contribution to the [White House memoir] shelf is welcome and worthy."
--Christopher Buckley, bestselling writer and commentator

"It's a good read… quite frankly, the stories are funny!"
Pat Buchanan, MSNBC news analyst and contributor
"Lots of people write accounts of their time at the White House. Virtually no one has done it as well... This book is excellent:  funny, sensible, informative, interesting as hell, and beautifully written. If only there had been more Matt Latimers in the Bush administration."
Tucker Carlson, Fox News analyst, former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire"
 "Matt Latimer's hilarious account reads like political satire, except it's all true…Latimer's description of government bureaucracy should be framed and placed in every government office… completely accurate and completely hilarious."
Ann Coulter, Best-selling Author and Fox News analyst
 "It's fair to say that President Bush left office having disappointed many conservatives, despite his success at keeping the American homeland free from terrorist attack for seven years after 9/11… Mr. Bush said, 'but I redefined the Republican Party.'  That may have been true, but how well did that work out for the Republican Party?"
John Fund, Editorial Page, The Wall Street Journal
 "[G]ives Republicans in particular a lot to think about if they ever hope to reclaim power…Even more than the messages this book conveys, at its heart this is a compelling story about idols who sometimes disappoint you..."
Stephen F. Hayes, Senior Writer Weekly Standard, Fox News contributor
 "A lot of really positive things about President Bush in this book…  I like knowing more about what's happening in these halls of power. And as a conservative,… I'm fascinated by this because this can't happen again to the Republican Party.  This party can't go down this road of big spending... That's not conservatism.  Matt Latimer, Speech-less... Be your own judge. Pick it up and check it out and don't believe everything necessarily that you're hearing."
Laura Ingraham, Host, The Laura Ingraham Show
"A lot of conservatives that have read [Matt's] book have called me up and just said, 'Ok, so this was the problem with [Bush] all along.'"
Joe Scarborough, Host, MSNBC's Morning Joe

About the Author

MATT LATIMER was one of President Bush's top speechwriters from March 2007 to October 2008. He was also chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for three years.

Inside "Speech-less"
View a sample of the index to Matthew Latimer's Speech-less [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307463729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307463722
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,558,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd heard about this book through friends of mine and something that leaked about it in the Washington Post this summer, and we couldn't WAIT for it to come out. So many of us come to Washington to "change the world" and so many of continue to plug away at just that, every day. What I wish more of us would do is write about what working in this town is really like. It's funny, it's scary, it's sad, it's quirky, it's frustrating, and it's awe-inspiring... all at the same time. As someone who's lived and worked in DC for the past 20 years (cripes, am I that old?), it's refreshing to read memoirs that take risks and share stories that aren't always the most flattering -- whether it's about a certain subject or the author him/herself. When I read Matt's book, I cringed at some of the things he admitted to saying, doing, and thinking, and other times, I wanted to cheer him on. I found it interesting that he didn't try to shove down our throat his own opinion about how things should work, or how he would've done things differently. Those kinds of books make me nuts. Instead, I felt like I was reading some real reporting about what his life was like -- good and bad -- in working on the Hill and in the White House. The Pentagon chapter was good, too. His writing is strong, and he really has a confident voice in his storytelling. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a good, funny book, and who wants to learn what the day-to-day life is like in Washington.
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Format: Hardcover
Matt Latimer's memoir is a humorous and candid take on life in Washington D.C. and the leaders we send there. His book exposes the other side of the people who we only see during their campaigns when they are nicely scripted and polished, promising the moon when they know they can't deliver it.

The author puts a human face on the distant government monolith and he says a lot of things that many people across the country are thinking but that they have had no one to voice. I really appreciated his openness and honesty.

Frankly it is heartening to know that there are people in Washington who really do care about principles and are not merely seeking power and prestige.
Comment 31 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not going to write a long review like some of the others posted here because you need to be reading this book instead of a long, dry review! The author tells it all -- the good, the bad, the funny, the ridiculous, the surprising -- about what goes on in Washington (Heaven help us in most cases!) The thing I liked best was that he wrote just as if he and I were sitting down having a conversation about some of the big names in government -- big names that he has met and worked with. There were some times when I thought, "Wow, I didn't know you could tell something like that" but I could tell that he was very honestly giving his opinions. His observations about most of the people served to back up the opinions I had already formed about them (I liked Donald Rumsfeld before reading the book, I liked him even better after reading it). Matt didn't spare himself, either, in some instances. This was not a case of a writer arranging the facts to make himself look good. Oh, and did I say that it is a really, really funny book? Yes indeed!
2 Comments 11 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Who said conservatives aren't funny?

Matt Latimer's journey to and through America's most powerful city is a very funny and well-told story from a guy that everyone can identify with. Not your average political memoir, it's a must read for anyone interested in politics or thinking about moving to Washington, DC.

Latimer doesn't pull punches against pols that deserve criticism, but he also lets the reader know who the good guys are. Unlike so many books about Washington, this one is so entertaining that I can easily see it being turned into a movie or TV show someday.

I look forward to reading more from Matt in the years ahead.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most compelling inside-the-beltway memoirs I've read from two perspectives. One for the obvious reason of providing valuable insight into the conservative movement from those with power inside the GOP during the George W. Bush era. Secondly because of the highly entertaining writing coupled to the author changing his literary style to better describe a character or situation. The result is a wonderfully crafted and compelling read. I'd also argue this book is far more worthy of being turned into a movie than Primary Colors, whose tone is often shared by Speech-less.

Unsurprisingly, the book is being grossly misrepresented by apologists of the George W. Bush legacy, Mr. McGurn's WSJ column regarding Speech-less was particularly dishonest. More surprising is that the book has not garnered much support from conservatives in spite of the author's mildly subversive attempt to depict President G.W. Bush as `no true Scotsman' (conservative); an attempt I think Latimer fails at miserably. Bruce Bartlett, a highly respected conservative who previously authored a book highly critical of the W. Bush era Republican economic policies was one of the few to write honestly about Speech-less' contents in his blog at Capital Gains and Games.

While the book starts-off like most memoirs, with Mr.
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