The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, September 02, 2004  

Political and Otherwise

This post marks installment two of the series “Late Summer Reading,” the first batch of brief reviews resulting from my guilt-free pasttime having been published here on August 23.

For your consideration on the second go-around:

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Joe Trippi. Although I was not a supporter of former Vermont governor Howard Dean preceding or during the Democratic presidential primaries (readers may recall I first back Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D-Ohio] but soon moved on, practically if not ideologically, to the eventual nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry), Trippi’s book, recounting just about everything known and unknown about the Dean campaign, at least through his involvement in the effort, made me feel like I missed something truly extraordinary. (The book brought back the excitement I felt as a young kid going door-to-door in the sixth ward of Oneonta, N.Y., on behalf of former President Jimmy Carter’s 1976 primary campaign. A long shot in the district, Carter clobbered his opponents in the precinct in which we wore out our shoe leather.) I emphasize The Revolution isn’t just for “Deaniacs.” It’s an authoritative and tightly reasoned treatise on the most powerful changes affecting politics today: technology, the internet, and, ahem, weblogs.

The Price of Loyalty by Ron Suskind. I’m a little late in getting to this one, but I’m pleased I picked it up at the library recently. I completed this fascinating book in just two sittings. It’s a shame that upon publication Suskind’s book was too often cast as an act of treachery by former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill and that most pundits and some reviewers kept their “analysis” of the work to the juicy bits, of which there are plenty I assure you. What Suskind, with the help of O’Neill, outlines is an administration hell-bent on a destructive, fringey, and completely thoughtless ideological crusade, at home and abroad, no matter the cost to anyone but themselves and their supporters and friends. My only question for O’Neill, regarding his departure, is: “What took you so long?”

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris. (A gift from reader L.H. from my Wish List.) As one who has not been a Sedaris fan from way back, as so many of his readers are proud to classify themselves, I have to admit the writer has really hit his stride in Dress Your Family. Some of Sedaris’s observations hit a little close to home, personally speaking, more so than his previous works, and I admit that likely has affected my judgment a little. With wit both obvious and subtle, Sedaris’s prose, drawn from his not-so-everyday life, is sure to keep you entertained. Just one question: Can I meet his mother?

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