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Square Peg Hardcover – October 15, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465028675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465028672
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,755,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most Americans only know Senator Hatch, Republican of Utah, from his role in the infamous Clarence Thomas hearings or from his brief, quixotic run for president in 2000. But Hatch has long been one of the most powerful and least understood characters in Congress. He's a prolife politician who supports stem cell research; he's a good friend of Ted Kennedy but an ardent opponent of Bill Clinton. Hatch explores these apparent inconsistencies and raises a few more in this earnest and enjoyable memoir of his years in public life. Hatch was first elected to the Senate in 1976, on the strength of an endorsement from Republican juggernaut Ronald Reagan; just two years later, he outfoxed the legendary Robert Byrd to defeat a critical labor bill; throughout the 1980s, he worked as floor manager during the balanced-budget fights. Unfortunately, Hatch fails to turn maneuverings on the Senate floor into high drama. More compelling is his account of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill fiasco, when he worked mightily to confirm Thomas to the Supreme Court, and he devotes a hefty portion of the book to explaining why. This account may not change any minds about Thomas, but it may change some minds about Hatch, who argues that he didn't deserve the reputation he earned as a woman-hating inquisitor; despite popular belief, Hatch never directly asked Hill any questions. In the end, Hatch comes off as warmhearted, committed and self-effacing. Graced with observant quips ("Some politicians are like water-they always take the path of least resistance"), this book is a fine, though small, addition to legislative autobiography, one that should be popular in D.C. and with Hatch's Utah constituents.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Hatch, a fixture in Washington's Sunday-morning ritual of televised political badinage, reviews his career and mixes anecdotes with explanations of the folkways of the Senate, which he has been a member of since 1977. Elected, in his view, to stop an American brand of socialism, Hatch describes his use that year of the Senate's custom of the filibuster to defeat a labor bill championed by Democrats and the AFL-CIO. As a parliamentary maneuver, that was no mean feat for a rookie member of the minority party, but interest in this technical (albeit crucial) side of senatorial politics probably does not run deep. His war stories, on the other hand, will grab attention, and Hatch's selective offering reflects his high visibility in such fracases as the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas nominations, and in the impeachment saga of President Clinton. If his role in those dramas soured liberals, conservative senators have been annoyed by his deal-cutting with liberal Democrats such as Henry Waxman and Edward Kennedy. Although most politicians' memoirs are ephemeral, they often generate requests, especially in their home states (Hatch's is Utah). Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike Stanley on November 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I admire Orrin Hatch, and was thrilled when I stumbled (literally) across this book during a Christmas shopping excursion. The most interesting parts were Orrin reflecting on his decision to run for Senate, and the process of that campaign. Also interesting was the Clarence Thomas confirmation and the resulting controversy. Far less interesting were his long tangents on the Labor bills and others that I'm too lazy to recall. I love politics, and enjoyed this book a decent amount... but I fail to see how anybody who isn't both a diehard conservative and a political junkie would be able to finish this book. It can be pretty tedious at times. That being said, Mr. Hatch is a great American and I salute him.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mike Smith on October 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be a complete and pleasant surprise. Contrary to what one might think, the book is actually an interesting, instructive, and revealing look at the political process. Senator Hatch makes legislating seem real and more thoughtful than one would ever guess from the evening news. I never thought I would read a book by Orrin Hatch and laugh out loud. I still don't agree with all of the positions he takes, but you do grasp that there are actual humans hiding behind their political stereotypes. It's a quick, easy, but surprisingly fun read.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joel Levy on December 6, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a book! This book is funny and captivating - A real page-turner. Hatch writes at a level that readers can enjoy. He assumes that you are a legislative novice and takes the time to explain the players and the environment in a non-dry fashion. He has a great sense of humor, shows wit and has a phenomenal storytelling manner. If I seem as though I am trumpeting this book, I am. I truly came away smiling and didn't feel as if conquering the next page was going to be an arduous task. This book is political, without being political. A Democrat can read the book just as joyfully as a Republican because Hatch is not pushing an agenda, unlike Goldberg's Biased, but rather is telling the reader the "how" of his career, and less of the "why you should be a republican." --- All I can say is that I enjoyed it, and there is no reason you wouldn't also.
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By J. Jensen on July 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
First things first....I am not an Orrin Hatch fan, I don't live in his state, and I have never really paid him much attention. Ultra-conservative friends of mine have always thought he was the greatest however. When I saw this book (75% off mind you) I couldn't resist seeing what he had to say.

My wife and I began reading this book aloud to one another on a long cross country trip. Both of us are moderate conservatives and we wanted to see what the far right was thinking. On several occasions during this book we found ourselves pondering deep philosophical issues and wrestling with our emotions regarding a myriad of subjects (stem cell research is most vivid in my memory).

Yes Senator Hatch does glance over some issues that were major black eyes to the GOP, instead opting for more words on democratic blunders (of course he would, as this is to be expected). In the end, I found myself unable to disagree with Senator Hatch's position on nearly all the issues he presents in the book -- something I know I will not be able to say after reading Clinton's book.

In short, this is a very thought provoking book which is excellently written. Senator Hatch shows guts and a surprising sense of humor. If you want to take some time and learn about the inner working of government, this is a very readable, insightful book.
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