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Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing As We Know It Hardcover – March 27, 2012

2.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Worth reading because it might be a long time (if ever) before somebody so unarguably knowledgeable will exercise such candor about partisan American politics.” ―Philadelphia Daily News

“Specter ... offers his knowledgeable, withering critique of brutal partisanship in national politics.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A highly readable battle cry from the moderate center―and timely, given the tenor of politics today.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A remarkable work, as Specter courageously chastises the Republican Party for its fixation on litmus tests. Specter -- a veteran Republican who left the party in April 2009 -- is right to warn of the risks posed to America by hyper-partisanship. … An impassioned call for the return of moderation to the party” ―D.R. Tucker, The Huffington Post

“Written in Senator Specter's trademark candor, Never Give In is a compelling tale of survival---both personal and political---from one of the Senate’s most independent voices.” ―Vice President Joe Biden on Never Give In

Never Give In brims with the singular tenacity and humor that have characterized Arlen Specter's nearly thirty years in the United States Senate. This book is both an entertaining read and an unflinching account of the experience of fighting an intensely personal battle on a highly public stage.” ―Michael J. Fox

“He knows a thing or two about illness and politics. It's a hell of a read.” ―Larry King on Never Give In

About the Author

SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER, son of Jewish immigrants, grew up in Kansas, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania, served as an editor of the law journal at the Yale Law School, and was a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. As an Assistant Counsel to the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of President Kennedy, he developed the Single Bullet Theory. As Philadelphia District Attorney, he created a national model for the modern prosecutor's office, sought life sentences for career criminals and realistic rehabilitation for first offenders, and trail-blazed prosecutions for police brutality. During thirty years in the U.S. Senate, he served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Veterans' Affairs Committee, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He presided over the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, and his questioning of Judge Robert Bork, by many accounts, prompted the Senate to reject Bork's nomination. He led successful efforts to triple funding for the National Institutes of Health. In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the Ten-Best Senators. He currently practices law in Philadelphia, lectures at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and recently hosted a pilot of PBS's Arlen Specter's The Whole Truth, a public-affairs television program that cuts to the heart of the day's toughest national political issues.

CHARLES ROBBINS served as Senator Specter's communications director in his Senate office and on his presidential campaign. He is the author of the novel The Accomplice as well as coauthor, with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, of The U.S. Senate, and coauthor of Senator Specter's Passion for Truth. A former newspaper reporter and Navy reserve officer, he is a graduate of Princeton University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and the master of fine arts program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Washington, D.C.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250003687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250003683
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,804,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Arlen Specter represented my state of Pennsylvania for 30 years in the United States Senate and many years before that in government service at the local and state level. While he and I didn't agree on everything legislative or political, I respected him for doing what he thought best for the state and the country. We used to have politicians like that. I used to be able to vote for a Republican once in a while. I wondered if my political views had shifted dramatically over the years, or what the problem was that now I am almost compelled to vote a straight Democratic ticket. This book explains the shift that took place and the forces behind it are as hideous as I feared. Arlen was made a marked man for his occasional votes outside the conservative GOP black and white agenda. This agenda is driven by a handful of wealthy, connected people who play rough with our political system. Play is what they do, too. Their victories, large and small, have nothing to do with the country's betterment, but are self-serving steps toward aristocracy. Specter spent the last ten years or so of his political career targeted for destruction by this self-proclaimed elite, fighting their unabashed proclivity to lying about his voting record. The greatest misfortune is that the democrats didn't recognize what a jewel they had received when Specter switched parties. Read the book and see if you can come up with any way to move the politicians in both parties more toward the center where compromise is not seen as betrayal.
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Format: Hardcover
"Collegialism and compromise" is how the Senate should work, as stated in "Life Among the Cannibals," the autobiogrpahy and political narrative of former Pennsylvania Senator, Arlen Specter. Specter knows it well. He spent thirty years as a U.S. Senator, a "centrist" in his own description, who defied ideological typecast. He was often a thorn in the side to ideological purists in both parties.

For most of his career, Specter was a Republican but in his last two years, a Democrat after his celebrated party switch which he describes in detail. Labels such as "maverick," "independent" or "off-the-reservation" are among the more charitable terms used by his Senate colleagues to describe Specter. His independence of thought made him unreliable in the view of many of his Senate colleagues, traitorous in the eyes of some.

Specter rues the decline of the moderate center and in particular, the wipeout of the moderate faction of the Republican Party. He describes the withering away of leading Republican moderates over the last thirty years, including Senators Jacob Javits, Jim Jeffords, Charles Mathias, Cale Boggs, Warren Rudman, Charles Percy, Lowell Weicker, John Chaffee and later, his son, Lincoln Chaffee, Mark Hatfield, Bob Packwood, John Warner, George Voinovich, Bob Bennett and soon to be out, Olympia Snowe and Dick Lugar. On the Democratic side, centrists such as Evan Bayh and now, Joe Lieberman have been pushed aside. The Republican Party has become much more conservative and the Democratic Party has become more liberal. The ideological center has for the most part, disappeared.

Specter managed to steer a largely independent course and repeatedly defied political odds to be re-elected.
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Format: Hardcover
I've waited months for Specter's book to be published, mainly because of his impressive legislative record and the sadness of how his hands were tied in his ability to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, having said that, I suppose I've identified (or disqualified) myself as being both pro democratic and pro Arlen. Which clearly these reviewers (8 to date) are not; outdoing themselves in condemning a book, that some of them have clearly not read. ("Read all my reviews" some of these proclaim - so I did - and found a love of writing hostile reviews, or reviews such as "Cat S_ _ _ One", that depicts violent combat scenes of cute little animals enthusiastically dispatching figures with turbaned heads that presumably represent Taliban.

Some news opinionators have selected passages that talk of nudity and it appears that commentators have picked up on these titillating sound bites. By contrast, reviews in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post are relatively enthusiastic about the book. Books by the likes of Dick Cheney and various ex-presidents are predictably self-serving and shy on details of the controversial areas of their careers or their obvious misteps. I anticiaped an intelligent tell-all expose of his 30 years in the senate, by someone who has transcended the need for party allegiance - and was not disappointed.

We live in the era of a paralyzed, stridently partisan congress and supreme court - and how this destructive state of affairs came to be is a story that needs to be told. This cause is not served by ad hominems that suggest Specter is homosexual, an opportunistic flip-flopper, suffering from dementia, or simply that he should die. He isn't flawless - he was nasty to Anita Hill, and his judgment about the single JFK assassin theory in the Warren Report was questionable. However critics would do well to look at his entire legislative record.

Bottom line - don't blindly trust Amazon reviews without checking the reviewer!
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