On the face of it, here's an improbable book: a memoir of four years as Secretary of ... Labor.
Well, in this case it works because the author is Robert B. Reich, a warm and lively writer who because of his 'Friend Of Bill' status and his strong positions on economic issues was inside virtually every political and ideological tussle of the Clinton administration's first term. What puts the book over the top though is that its author retains his humanity even after walking through the looking glass of official Washington. We experience, for instance, the angst of having to let his two sons and wife go back to the family home in Cambridge because he can't quite yet leave the struggle for such improvements as an increase in the minimum wage. Throughout it all, Reich keeps the sharp eye of the outsider. Witness for example this comment about Newt Gingrich: "His office is adorned with figurines of dinosaurs, as you might find in the bedrooms of little boys who dream of one day being huge and powerful."
From Library Journal
Reich, the secretary of labor for President Clinton's first term, relates the successes, failures, and frustrations of being a liberal in a centrist administration. His diary brims with stories about successful programs for the poor, the rage of displaced workers, and the futility of trying to pass legislation on behalf of the most vulnerable members of society. Reich tried to use his office as "secretary of little people," fighting against corporate greed and the growing chasm between rich and poor by advocating retraining and education programs that would let workers remain productive in a global society. He knows how to laugh at himself and does not mince words about those he dislikes, notably Republican House leader Newt Gingrich and Dick Morris, the recently banished Clinton pollster. Reich's engaging style is similar to Leonard Garment's in his critically acclaimed Crazy Rhythm (LJ 2/1/97). Highly recommended for public libraries and a strong candidate for academic collections.?Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.