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Truth To Tell: Tell It Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself: Notes from My White House Education Paperback – October 3, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (October 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743247825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743247825
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The title of Lanny Davis's book will catch many readers by surprise. Davis, after all, was a top White House spin doctor in the Clinton administration and a constant presence on television during the flap over the president's "inappropriate relationship" with Monica Lewinsky--a moment when truth seemed in short supply. Yet this is also an interesting memoir of Washington's scandal-mongering culture told by one of its major participants. The bulk of the book focuses on Davis's time on the White House payroll (he actually resigned shortly after Lewinsky hit the headlines, a departure he had previously scheduled). Davis provides an insider's guide to the controversy surrounding Bill Clinton's fundraising practices and other disputes. These anecdote-rich accounts provide a rare glimpse of how Washington really operates. He remains a dyed-in-the-wool loyalist (no Stephanopoulos-like backbiting here), yet is not afraid to criticize White House tactics that failed to serve Clinton's political goals.

The most interesting sections come when Davis distills lessons from the stories and experiences he relates on these pages. A few tips for aspiring spinners: "Acknowledge the obvious," "Trump the opposition's premises," and "Label any criticism as pure politics." At these moments, Davis reveals the motives and strategies that make Washington politics simultaneously fascinating and infuriating. And it's hard to disagree with one of his chief conclusions, no matter what your politics: "All of us in the process--Democrats and Republicans, journalists and lawyers, not to mention a public ready to assume the worst about politicians--have combined to produce rot, horrible rot." --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Less ballyhooed than Stephanopoulos or Mortons Monica, Davis, the Washington lawyer who served for 14 months as the Clinton White Houses chief spinmeister, simultaneously offers a stinging critique of scandalmongering politics and an education in the instrumentalif not downright cynicalcraft of spin control. Davis, who served as special counsel to the president until January 1998 (he left just 10 days after the Monica Lewinsky story broke), staunchly defends Clinton as the leader of a new, centrist Democratic Party. He presents himself as a man of integrity doing a high-wire balancing act between his desire to tell the whole truth and his loyalty to his boss. Dealing primarily with the campaign-finance scandal, Davis is most persuasive when debunking the story that the White House sold burial plots in Arlington Cemetery to civilians in exchange for campaign donations and when deflating the import of Al Gores mix of Buddhism and fund-raising. Hes less convincing when attempting to dismiss the charges of influence-peddling swirling around fundraiser John Huang. In an epilogue, Davis re-creates an August 1998 phone conversation with Clinton in which he urged the president to get everything out to the public concerning Lewinsky. Following the rules of proactive disclosure might well have enabled Clinton to avoid impeachment, Davis speculates. Depending on what their definition of is is, readers may view this memoir either as an unwittingly embarrassing peek into the Clinton propaganda machine or as an informal handbook on the art of damage control. Its actually both. Agent, Arthur Kaminsky.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Some of these reviewers apparently have not read the book. They seem to have filed reviews for the sole purpose of ranting about Bill and Hillary Clinton. In Mr. Davis's account of his meeting with the President regarding Miss Lewinsky, his advise was to tell it all and tell it now whatever the truth is.
The bulk of his book is dedicated to the campaign finance "scandals" where he had to continually contend with other White House counsels who took the tack of not exposing their client to undue risk, often with disastrous results, such as with the White House coffees.
If you are interested in the dynamics between the White House and the press, this is the book for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John G. Hilliard on April 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Tell the truth, an interesting comment / policy coming from a political spin master. I had no perceptions about this book when picking it, as I had not heard anything about it. In my experience that usually means the book is rather run of the mill and dull. Well it turned out that this book is absolutely nothing like that. I really enjoyed the book. It was well written, snappy and interesting. He walks the reader through his time in the media relation's portion of the White House during the campaign finance issues and right before Monica. He does a great job of explaining what his job entailed and making it very interesting.
One thing that came to me as an extra was the details of the press and the way they work up a story. It makes you look at the new in a different light. The author detailed some of the phases to watch out for when reading a paper, which will make me trust political reporting even less. The points he raises has been one that every arm chair political junky has been yelling at the TV for years. Just tell the truth, it is always going to make it easier in the long run and eliminates the never-ending story about one little bit after another. The book is also rather positive. It is not a kiss and tell with nice bits of gossip. Overall I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone interested in the way the Clinton White House dealt with the media.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a slanted view of the whole Clinton mess and how his (Davis) higher moral authority should have prevailed. It is a good lesson on how to spin and what to do when you get caught. Davis need to take his own advice for he had the chance to go straight to Clinton and demand he do exactly what he advises us to do...tell the truth. Davis propped up Clinton more than anyone and has used this book to justify the many hours we all had to agonize on this creep marginalizing his own integrity for someone he deeply liked....Clinton. He should have just told us the truth and quit rationalizing his own lack of moral fortitude and posturing with reporters.

I had hope that by buying this book, I would like Davis but after reading it, I have no respect for him or his political cronies.

This book is but more of "do what I say and not what I did". Clinton and Davis let this country down.....big time!

Davis is but another Washington elite who went to an Ivy League school who thinks he is smarter and more moral than the rest of us.

Don't waste your money.....the only value in the book is the strategy they used to marginalize the moral ineptitude of Bill Clinton....a great President but a horrid man.

I just wish both of them....Davis and Clinton would go .....away! Between the two of them....you can just about sum up what is wrong with this country...a complete disconnect from the people and the whole truth.

To Davis, the truth is whatever you can say and get away with and not create "legs" on a news story. Not exactly what I wanted to read about.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is interesting overall and shares many of the author's experiences working for the Clinton administration, but the sheer number of these (often repetitive) experiences makes for a slow read. I can safely say that a few chapters in the middle of the book can be skipped without any impact to comprehension.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book to share some interesting insights into the dynamics of working in the White House and within the constraints of a politically charged environment. It shows the opposing forces of lawyers and public relations professionals trying to coexist and the struggles faced.

I have to say as a public relations professional, I did object to the use of spin as a way to describe how to get the facts and story out. Guess that is a different mindset.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a great guide to putting out the bad news first, and there was much of it during the White House tenure of Lanny Davis. Almost a companion piece to Howard Kurtz's Spin Cycle, both delve into the campaign finance scandal that still rock the Clinton White House.
Davis gives an insider account that details his failures and successes as the pointman for scandals and how he navigated between White House lawyers and politicos and learned on the job the the tradecraft needed to shape such stories.
If you liked Spin Cycle, then this is a definite must read.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The best - The best book I ever read. What else can I say about it, its the best. You learn so much from Mr. Davis. This is a book for everyone. It should be required reading in our schools. God bless Lanny Davis for writing this book.
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