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Square Peg Hardcover – October 15, 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most Americans only know Senator Hatch, Republican of Utah, from his role in the infamous Clarence Thomas hearings or from his brief, quixotic run for president in 2000. But Hatch has long been one of the most powerful and least understood characters in Congress. He's a prolife politician who supports stem cell research; he's a good friend of Ted Kennedy but an ardent opponent of Bill Clinton. Hatch explores these apparent inconsistencies and raises a few more in this earnest and enjoyable memoir of his years in public life. Hatch was first elected to the Senate in 1976, on the strength of an endorsement from Republican juggernaut Ronald Reagan; just two years later, he outfoxed the legendary Robert Byrd to defeat a critical labor bill; throughout the 1980s, he worked as floor manager during the balanced-budget fights. Unfortunately, Hatch fails to turn maneuverings on the Senate floor into high drama. More compelling is his account of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill fiasco, when he worked mightily to confirm Thomas to the Supreme Court, and he devotes a hefty portion of the book to explaining why. This account may not change any minds about Thomas, but it may change some minds about Hatch, who argues that he didn't deserve the reputation he earned as a woman-hating inquisitor; despite popular belief, Hatch never directly asked Hill any questions. In the end, Hatch comes off as warmhearted, committed and self-effacing. Graced with observant quips ("Some politicians are like water-they always take the path of least resistance"), this book is a fine, though small, addition to legislative autobiography, one that should be popular in D.C. and with Hatch's Utah constituents.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Hatch, a fixture in Washington's Sunday-morning ritual of televised political badinage, reviews his career and mixes anecdotes with explanations of the folkways of the Senate, which he has been a member of since 1977. Elected, in his view, to stop an American brand of socialism, Hatch describes his use that year of the Senate's custom of the filibuster to defeat a labor bill championed by Democrats and the AFL-CIO. As a parliamentary maneuver, that was no mean feat for a rookie member of the minority party, but interest in this technical (albeit crucial) side of senatorial politics probably does not run deep. His war stories, on the other hand, will grab attention, and Hatch's selective offering reflects his high visibility in such fracases as the Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas nominations, and in the impeachment saga of President Clinton. If his role in those dramas soured liberals, conservative senators have been annoyed by his deal-cutting with liberal Democrats such as Henry Waxman and Edward Kennedy. Although most politicians' memoirs are ephemeral, they often generate requests, especially in their home states (Hatch's is Utah). Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (October 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465028675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465028672
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,207,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Orin Hatch was known, in his time, for being capable, but not for being fair-minded. He probably got his greatest notoriety in the Clarence Thomas hearings, but he was a skilled and effective advocate for the various elements of the Right throughout and in every way.

Sometimes partisans such as Senator Hatch transcend their partisanship in their memoirs, typically written after retirement. Of course, he published this book in 2002 and he's still in the US Senate, so readers wouldn't expect an honest reckoning, in this case.

So, unsurprisingly, it's a book with a strong but not relentless partisan tone. Hatch is an intelligent and well-educated representative of the State of Utah, but he is, ipso facto really, committed to an conservative program for the country. He can tack, though, when reason and local issues dictate, as in the arguments over damage to Utah people from nuclear tests in Nevada, and he even aided people in the Marshall Islands who had similarly suffered. Nothing about all that in this book, though. Odd.

The book is valuable, with some caveats, if you're very interested in the Congressional scene of the Nineties, and I suppose those who are bitten generally with the legislative bug will find some of the Senator's statements about the congressional process telling. However, there's a lot of archness and downright partisan pompousness, with occasional voodoo attacks on Bill Clinton and hagiographic tagging of Ronald Reagan. Don't expect the wit and insight that Bob Dole or Barry Goldwater can show. Of course, you didn't expect it, back in the day. So it's Hatch.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I spent over two years working for him. I've just started the book and it appears to be a good representation of him as a Senator and a human being and certainly is consistent of my knowledge of the man on a daily bases. What he has written is the way he is, no fluff, just the Senator and a man willing to work across the aisle to get things done.
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Format: Hardcover
I admire Orrin Hatch, and was thrilled when I stumbled (literally) across this book during a Christmas shopping excursion. The most interesting parts were Orrin reflecting on his decision to run for Senate, and the process of that campaign. Also interesting was the Clarence Thomas confirmation and the resulting controversy. Far less interesting were his long tangents on the Labor bills and others that I'm too lazy to recall. I love politics, and enjoyed this book a decent amount... but I fail to see how anybody who isn't both a diehard conservative and a political junkie would be able to finish this book. It can be pretty tedious at times. That being said, Mr. Hatch is a great American and I salute him.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be a complete and pleasant surprise. Contrary to what one might think, the book is actually an interesting, instructive, and revealing look at the political process. Senator Hatch makes legislating seem real and more thoughtful than one would ever guess from the evening news. I never thought I would read a book by Orrin Hatch and laugh out loud. I still don't agree with all of the positions he takes, but you do grasp that there are actual humans hiding behind their political stereotypes. It's a quick, easy, but surprisingly fun read.
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Format: Hardcover
What a book! This book is funny and captivating - A real page-turner. Hatch writes at a level that readers can enjoy. He assumes that you are a legislative novice and takes the time to explain the players and the environment in a non-dry fashion. He has a great sense of humor, shows wit and has a phenomenal storytelling manner. If I seem as though I am trumpeting this book, I am. I truly came away smiling and didn't feel as if conquering the next page was going to be an arduous task. This book is political, without being political. A Democrat can read the book just as joyfully as a Republican because Hatch is not pushing an agenda, unlike Goldberg's Biased, but rather is telling the reader the "how" of his career, and less of the "why you should be a republican." --- All I can say is that I enjoyed it, and there is no reason you wouldn't also.
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