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What Color is a Conservative? Hardcover – October 22, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1 edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060194367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060194369
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this forthright and up-by-the-bootstraps memoir, Oklahoma Congressman Watts charts his personal experiences, his political beliefs and aspirations and his abiding faith. "Mine wasn't a Norman Rockwell childhood. There were too many black faces, too much poverty, and too little opportunity," he writes. Nonetheless, Watts's stories of growing up in tiny Eufaula, Oklahoma, with his close-knit, high-spirited family of eight offer plenty of touching moments. He recalls playing for the University of Oklahoma and the Canadian Football League, and shares political war stories complete with digs at the "hollow rhetoric" of Democrats, liberals and black leaders who call Watts a traitor, and for whom "group identity is more important than individual principles." The fourth-ranking Republican in Congress emphasizes his desire to imbue his constituents-as well as those beyond his district's borders-with a feeling of trust in his party, and to affect an increased affinity for its political positions and ideals. Of politicking and partisanship, Watts says that new models of cooperation are needed, between government and private organizations, secular or not, and that "if we have the will to change, we will change lives for the better."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

African American Watts, the fourth-ranking Republican in Congress, reflects on what some regard as his incongruous position and explains his belief in family.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a decade.
Amazon Customer
In summary, this is an inspiring story which provides the insights necessary to understand a remarkable man, but it is also the story of America.
Tucker Andersen
It is a great book, and a shame that the people of the U.S. will lose a great Congressional member.
Chris from the Midwest

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on May 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Julius Caesar Watts, Jr. recently became the chairman of an organization of which I am a member; since I only knew of him as an outstanding wishbone quarterback from the Barry Switzer glory years at the University of Oklahoma and as the first black member of the Republican Congressional leadership, I figured that reading his autobigraphy was the best way to begin to learn about the man. My hopes were tempered by my usual skepticism concerning books by and about politicians because of the agenda and vanity of the writers, but I was encouraged by the fact that J.C.'s book was published after he had announced his retirement from Congress rather than as a stepping stone to higher office. This book exceeded all my expectaions. You learn about J.C. - his family, his upbringing, his values, and the crucial experiences in the formation of his character and outlook on life. The story is told in a straightforward yet very interesting manner, by the end of the book I had developed a real understanding of what makes J.C. "tick". Usually, I have trouble staying interested in this type of book because they are either boring, BS, or both. This was an easy read, several times when I had planned to only read a single chapter I found myself continuing due to my fascination with the story.
The other surprising aspect of the book is that the subject of race does not dominate every discussion; obviously it is one one the key formative factors in J.C.'s life and is dealt with openly, as are the subjects both of religion and the role of faith in his life and also politics and the impact of him being the first black southern Republican Congressman since the reconstruction era. This story begins with J.C.
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Chris from the Midwest on November 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When I picked up this book I had intentions of learning about how J.C. dealt with politics in his life. After reading it I was pleasantly surprised about how in-depth the book goes into his life in general, not just politics. He discusses in great length, what it was like for him to grow up in Oklahoma, and how the views of his parents have molded him into who he is today. Some people might disagree with a lot of his political stances, but it is hard to disagree with the merit at which he chose those stances. His views are views that many American's share, whether or not many believe it. For those who like sports, his descriptions of sport analogies, and how they tie into life, should be adequate enough to get you to understand his political views. For those who perfer a pure political book this may not be for them. In retrospect, he could have used the title Leadership in his book just as well as Conservative. I think that the title of 'What Color is a Conservative' is not quite enough, as this book touches on much more then politics, which I think is the basis of our general definition of Conservative when we discuss those who hold a political office. It is a great book, and a shame that the people of the U.S. will lose a great Congressional member. But no matter what office he holds, his legacy will be based upon his ability to lead, which nobody who reads this book should question.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Chris Salzer on April 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
J.C. Watts is a true American hero - in every sense of the word. From humble beginnings in rural Oklahoma to star Sooner QB to luminary Congressman, Watts recounts his life in expert fashion to make for an enthrallingly good read. Watts has always been a leader grounded in good faith and family values - a true original when in comes to Washington, D.C. demagoguery. And that's exactly what has endeared him to his many fans and supporters - and conversely that's what also has angered many outside - and within - the Republican pary. Watts was never known to back down from a good fight. He is willing to take a principled stand for what he believes in and resists the coercive influence to always vote in deference to party leadership.
As Watts explains, character-building experiences have helped him to see beyond political orthodoxy and the rigid constraints of group identity to make him the extraordinary leader that he is today. He is willing to embrace new models to solve old problems - unlike most politicians. Watts has always been a man of God, resiliency, resolve, unwavering principle, and old-fashioned family values. He is sorely missed in Washington as there are few true leaders like him remaining.
"No man is free who is not master of himself."
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a decade. First, it is very nicely written. Second, the story is based on basic, wholesome values. And third, it presents a fresh view of the Black experience. It left me eager to learn more about Mr. Watts. As his life unfolds further, I'll hope for a sequel.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By RKC on July 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book changed my life and allowed me the courage to stand up for what I REALLY believe, despite popular opinion. JC Watts, Jr. is hugely courageous and open the doors for many conservative african americans who have elected to reject "victimization," and embrace true independence through education, hard-work, faith, and family.
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