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Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms: My Life in American Politics Paperback – March 3, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A consummate political operative, Ed Rollins has ridden high and ridden low. The political director of Ronald Reagan's White House in 1981, he enjoyed overwhelming success. But the weirdness of the Ross Perot campaign sent him reeling, and his stint running Christine Todd Whitman's gubernatorial campaign resulted in a grand jury investigation. Through it all, Rollins picked up a wealth of juicy and humorous material, which he is willing to share--holding nothing back. He calls Perot a "paranoid lunatic on an ego trip" and Arianna Huffington "ruthless and unscrupulous." An enjoyable and educational book from an outspoken insider who reveals the viciousness of modern politics. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Salty and enjoyable ... If you can laugh at what has become of our democracy, it is rollicking. If it is thought-provoking, however, the thoughts are somber ones. -- The New York Times Book Review, Donald E. Westlake --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (March 3, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553067311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553067316
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,275,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John G. Hilliard on May 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am a self confessed Democrat and even I loved this book. The author is as about as right leaning as they come, but that did nothing to diminish the enjoyment any political junkie would get from the book regardless of what side of the spectrum you are on. The author has been involved in Republican politics sense the Nixon administration and in this book he givens a well written, interesting and humorous account of what he has been a part of. I would not call this book a kiss and tell, but he does give you the facts in a straight up manner, regardless if it makes his clients or himself look bad.
I found the time he spent on the Reagan and Perot campaigns the most interesting. The Reagan campaign because he really lays out the best way to run a campaign. This section of the book could almost be used as a how to tutorial on how to win a race. I found the Perot campaign info interesting for the exact opposite of the Reagan section. This guy was a flake and the author captures every odd, weird and down right stupid thing that happened. The author also talks about his relationship with the first President Bush and lets just say it is very eye opening. Everything he says about the father can be seen in the son today. His main point is that the Bush family feels loyalty is the most important trait a person can have and if you cross that line you will be paying for it for years.
I enjoyed the fact that the author did not spend exorbitant amounts of time on his pre political history or his family situation, just enough to set the stage. I may be unique in this regard so if you are looking for an in depth view into his family this is not the book for you. Overall I really liked the book. It read fast and it is so interesting I just did not want to put it down.
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Format: Paperback
Warning: There's quite a bit of foul language in this book.
I've always liked Ed Rollins and his honesty gets him in enough hot water to boil a frog. He tells how it's really done and how he learned the game from California Speaker Jesse Unruh. He tells of his split from the Democrats to Reagan and from the Bush GOP to Perot.
The Perot chapter, appropriately titled the "Campaign From Hell," is the ultimate hilarity. He has kind words for nearly everybody - even his enemies - but he also says some hilarious tidbits so that it's never dull. Among the things Rollins addresses:
A GOP sex scandal in the opening days of the Reagan era
What REALLY happened in the 1993 New Jersey governor's race
How an off the wall comment can get you in hot water
How Ross Perot decided a thirty-day campaign was better than actually running for office
All this and much more. And he correctly calls the 1992 Bush campaign the "worst performance by an incumbent in modern political history." This kind of honesty shows that whatever flavor your party - Democratic, Republican, Independent, or even if you hate politics - Rollins has something for you. A must read.
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Format: Paperback
If you love political history or if you want to see the inner workings of the US government, this book is for you.
I read this book in two nights. I love material that was covered: Ed Rollins early years, his years on Reagan's staff, his time with Kemp, his campaign with Perot (I never realized Perot was that kooky of a man, the Christine Todd-Whitman camapaign.
The book is excellent. Rollins holds nothing back. This is one of the top 10 books I have ever read. I was glued.
This book is more of a history, than a how too. But even if you are looking for a how too, you will still love this book.
This book is worth more than 19 bucks.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
April, 27, 2016; I have read a lot of books that pretend to be like this one, but rarely do they measure up. This one is the best I have ever read in my 70 years.
If you are a conservative and sick of the Republican party this is the book for you. You can buy it used for almost nothing and you will read it non stop.
The great thing about the book is that the subject of the book is happening again, in the Republican contest. Well worth reading, so you can compare the RR and Bush years to this cycle.
Buy it, you will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms is political consultant Ed Rollins' journey as a political strategist in American politics. First of all you have to read this book just to receive the insight on Ross Perot and his insanity. I read this book awhile ago when I was in High School and laughed for hours about Perot. Also I love just hearing about the day to day operations of a political campaigns. If you are interested in politics or political campaigns this book is a must read and has to be in your library.

Rollins covers working with President Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot, Christie Todd Whitman, Michael Huffington (another great wild chapter) and George Nethercutt. Read this book if you want to hear a great story about Frank Sinatra from the Reagan campaign. It is a great window into the workings and thought of the Reagan administration as well. Another great political consultant read was "Bad Boy" about the late Lee Atwater, this one might even be better. If you are a Democrat or Republican this will be a great laugh and amazing insight. You will not be able to put this book down, and once you finish you will go through serious withdrawls which may include chills, shakes, or foaming at the mouth.
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