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What A Party!: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 23, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (January 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312357877
  • ASIN: B001CJS60O
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,577,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The ex–Democratic National Committee chair and political super– fund-raiser lives up to his nickname Mad Dog in this boisterous memoir. McAuliffe is rabidly aggressive toward Republicans (whom he describes as "willing to lie and cheat any way they could"), savaging them on talk shows and facing them down in bristling social encounters. He relentlessly pursues donors, happy to wrestle alligators and sing karaoke for checks ("for $500,000 I didn't mind humiliating myself"). He golfs, dances and plays cards with his political masters Hillary and Bill Clinton ("the Babe Ruth of American presidents"), forever preening over the role his advice and prodigious fund-raising played in their success. But on the exchange of money for access implicit in his activities, he is blustery but evasive. McAuliffe has incisive comments on the Democrats' shortcomings, especially their faintheartedness in fighting Republicans. Though he champions the Democrats as the party of the little guy—contrasting their jeans-and-barbecue shindigs with "swank, hoity-toity" GOP fund-raising events —that stance is undercut by all the name-dropping ("Ben Affleck joined Robin, Marsha, Dorothy and me for a quick tour of the skeet range") and elbow rubbing with grungily dressed billionaires. McAuliffe's inflated self-regard may give more ammunition to Republican opponents than his partisan vitriol does to Democratic allies. Photos. (Feb. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

McAuliffe, who has been involved with Democratic campaigns for the past 25 years as fund-raiser, advisor, and chairman of the Democratic National Committee during President Bush's first term, offers an energetic, behind-the-scenes look at politics. He began his career as a fund-raiser with the Carter campaign in 1980 when he became famous for wrestling an alligator. McAuliffe has gone on to raise more than $1 billion for Democrats. As an entrepreneur and millionaire, McAuliffe might be assumed to have more in common with the Republicans. But he traces his bona fides back to his childhood and his family's long-standing interest in Democratic politics. Despite his love for Democrats, he lambastes his party for failing to fight harder when the 2000 presidential election popular vote--and arguably the electoral votes as well--favored Al Gore; the Kerry campaign's reluctance to challenge Bush's qualifications as commander in chief when he allegedly had not completed his National Guard duty obligations; and a host of other sins. McAuliffe's exuberance and insider status combine to make this a fascinating look at political campaigns. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It's a fun book to read.
John Matlock
He was a close Friend of Bill and offers really touching portraits of President Clinton and also Hillary Clinton.
Karlis Streips
Terry McAuliffe is a self-described "Irish storyteller" and if you like Democrats, you'll love this book.
Jon Hunt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Emily on November 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book does a disservice to Terry McAuliffe. I'm sad to say that it is the worst political memoir ever. In person, Terry McAuliffe comes off as a delightful personality, always happy and energetic. I bought this book hoping that Terry would write an interesting book that exhibited his honest reflections on life, his accomplishments and shortcomings, and the best and worst of the Democratic Party. Someone like Terry who has been at the center of Democratic Party politics over the past two decades could have really pulled this off magnificently, writing a political classic a la The Making of the Candidate, 1960. Unfortunately, perhaps Terry is simply lazy, incapable of writing something of that caliber, or so caught up with not offending anyone that his book ends up being sheer drivel. Sadly, the result is a book that makes Terry seem narcissistic, as I discuss further below. I've read dozens of political memoirs, and this is by far the worst. You expect a bit of bragging, name dropping, and deflection of criticism, but you don't expect the book to be entirely that. How sad. The fact that this is the result of a collaboration between Terry McAuliffe and Steve Kettman speaks poorly of both men. I'm disappointed that Steve would allow his reputation to be tarnished by this book. Those who wrote positive things about this book are clearly just people like Paul Begala, who know Terry and were expected to write a positive review, or people who simply did not read the book. This book simply has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

The problems with this book are so manifold that I don't even know where to start. As I already said, Terry seems so caught up with himself that he's able to explain all of his accomplishments and name drop effectively.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richad of Connecticut VINE VOICE on February 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Does a political book get any better than this one? I don't think so. This is one of the finest books on politics you can ever hope to read. It's entertaining and insightful on every subject it touches. This is coming from a reader who is usually on the other side of the political arena. McAuliffe's personality was absolutely captured in this book. His contagious commitment to his party, and the people he was loyal to is evident throughout every page.

Is the book honest; does it give the unvarnished truth about what happened during the times and events that McAuliffe is writing about? Of course not, nor would you expect it to. When you read this book, you are looking for an understanding of what it was like for the dominant financial fundraiser of the Democratic Party of his generation to do what he did. From that perspective, it just doesn't get any better than McAuliffe's book.

It is not a short book either. It is close to 400 pages done with a moderate size font, but in those pages, the man demonstrates a joy for life, and it's a life on a big scale. He knows the movers and the shakers, the real guys and the pretend guys. It's all here, and for the reader you get the inside scoop on life at the top of one of the two major political parties in our land.

Talk about bias though. McAuliffe does sometimes speak about history and events as though he's the only one who's got the story straight. He also tends to think of the Democrats as being pure as the driven snow, and the Republicans as though they are in bed with the devil. Only partisans live that nonsense.

The author has to be forgiven for his partisanship because he has so much invested in the GAME. You are not reading the book to learn about history.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Keogh on January 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I went to hear TMcA read in NYC last night... what a blast! He is the quintessential Irish pol (by way of upstate New York who has, curiously, picked up an occasional Southern accent). At any rate, the place was packed and McAuliffe had them rolling in the aisles. He is a true believer who practically makes you want to quit your job to join a (preferrably Democratic) campaign. I stayed up until 1:00am and finished his book. A great ride, a great read. McAuliffe has been in many powerful rooms, and is not afraid to tell us how the game is played. Fascinating stuff.

What a life this man has had... I finished reading it and thought: the Clintons aside, anyone would be fortunate to have such a great friend as him. Really -- a terrific book.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you're a loyal Republican (and I'm anything but) you'll probably want to read the first few pages of "What a Party!"...up to the point where Terry McAuliffe starts his McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance business at the age of sixteen. You'll get the idea that Terry works hard and thinks big. Beyond that point, however, watch out! This book is one big delightfully funny partisan romp from the Carter years through Bush 43. Along the way, McAuliffe raises tons of money for the Democrats, becomes close to the Clintons, butts heads with more than a few, knocks back a few cold ones from time to time and tells some of the best stories from the political world. Terry McAuliffe is a self-described "Irish storyteller" and if you like Democrats, you'll love this book.

"What a Party!" has such a frenetic pace to it that you might get a little winded just trying to keep up with Terry McAuliffe. If he's not on a plane somewhere he's on the phone raising funds, arranging loans, allocating monies...and all the while seeming to have a great time doing it. You get the feeling that if someone accused McAuliffe of being self-promotional he'd take that as a huge compliment. What makes this book intriguing as well is that McAuliffe takes you behind the scenes of what campaigns are like and into the White House for that rare glimpse of personal time spent with Bill and Hillary Clinton. You could describe the author as the most partisan of partisans and that would be not only an apt reflection but a necessary one, given his job as DNC chairman.

It's really the stories, though, that make this book shine. There's always a smile that comes to my face when I read the name Zell Miller and Terry McAuliffe doesn't disappoint here!
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