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Tim Russert, We Heartily Knew Ye: Wonderful Stories from Friends Celebrating a Great Life Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 15, 2009
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There are so many authors in this book - people who knew him in high school, college - some of them are good writers and some don't have a very polished style. They use unusual sentence construction and some of the sentences are not complete sentences. It is like the authors were talking into a tape recorder and then someone typed up what they said, maybe cleaning it up a little, but leaving in some of the words and phrases that are not used in good writing.
Wolfe admits that there is repetition in the book, and there is - two or more people shared the same experience with Tim and wrote about it. That's not so bad. The book seems pretty honest about Tim. One of Tim's friends from college described how Tim cheated on a final exam and how he stole meals from the dining hall when he was living off campus. Yet on page 170 it quotes Tim saying in a John Carroll University publication, "You can read all the books...you can know all the facts...but the emphasis on ethics and values are what matter with an education." Those stories lowered my opinion of Tim Russert and his college. But you have to give credit to the book for being honest about it. These stories were included to highlight Tim's social skills - he was able to talk the janitor into opening the professor's office for him, he was able to get the dining hall staff to let him have meals that were not paid for.
If you already read Big Russ, you will recognize some of the material, but there is a lot of new material too. Woodstock and his trip to Washington D.C. after Woodstock are fun stories. There is not much in the book about Tim's wife. There's more about his father and his son.
Several things come across in these stories. Tim was enormously intelligent and energetic. He had terrific social skills. He was genuinely kind and generous with his friends and also with strangers.
When he first joined Meet the Press, I never watched it because I was always in church when it was on. Then I found out how good it was, and started taping it and watching it after church. Now, I still watch MTP, but it isn't half as good as it was, and you can't trust David Gregory to tell the truth.
I'll tell you a secret - the last story in the book is the best.