Political Books

Lewandowski Shopping Book Proposal Again

CNN: “It was not clear what Lewandowski’s book would be about. A proposal wasn’t submitted, likely to avoid details leaking to the public, the source added. Lewandowski previously had an offer from HarperCollins worth $1.2 million, but lost it over concerns about a nondisclosure agreement he signed during the campaign, Politico reported last June. This time around, however, publishers were told Lewandowski had been able to obtain a waiver of the nondisclosure agreement, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.”

Written Out of History

Just published: Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

“In the thick of the debates over the Constitution, some founders warned about the dangers of giving too much power to the central government. Though they did not win every battle, these anti-Federalists and their allies managed to insert a system of checks and balances to protect the people from an intrusive federal government. Other forgotten figures were not politicians themselves, but by their thoughts and actions influenced America’s story. Yet successive generations have forgotten their message, leading to the creation of a vast federal bureaucracy that our founders would not recognize and did not want.”

Waiting for Volume Five

As we patiently wait for the last installment of The Years of Lyndon Johnson — the greatest political biography ever written, in my view — the Paris Review runs a great interview with author Robert Caro.

I can’t start writing a book until I’ve thought it through and can see it whole in my mind. So before I start writing, I boil the book down to three paragraphs, or two or one—that’s when it comes into view. That process might take weeks. And then I turn those paragraphs into an outline of the whole book. That’s what you see up here on my wall now—twenty-seven typewritten pages. That’s the fifth volume. Then, with the whole book in mind, I go chapter by chapter. I sit down at the typewriter and type an outline of that chapter, let’s say if it’s a long chapter, seven pages—it’s really the chapter in brief, without any of the supporting evidence. Then, each chapter gets a notebook, which I fill with all the materials I want to use—quotations and facts pulled from all of the research I’ve done.

Bill Clinton and James Patterson Are Writing a Novel

Bill Clinton and James Patterson are collaborating on a thriller, The President is Missing, to come out June 2018, the Boston Herald reports.

In a statement, the publishers called the book “a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power. It will be informed by details that only a president can know.”

Clinton Book May Soon Become TV Series

Shattered, by the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, has been optioned by TriStar Television, a division of Sony Pictures Television, and Davis Entertainment for a limited series, the New York Times reports.

“Among the first post-mortems of the election, Shattered has been a mainstay in dinner-party chatter in political circles since its publication. The continued interest in the election has brought talk of other book-to-TV series as well. The political journalists and analysts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are currently working on a book about the 2016 election that has also been acquired for a mini-series by HBO.”

Rising Star

Coming soon: Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama by David Garrow.

Washington Post: “It is in the personal realm that Garrow’s account is particularly revealing. He shares for the first time the story of a woman Obama lived with and loved in Chicago, in the years before he met Michelle, and whom he asked to marry him. Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, is a recurring presence in Rising Star … In Garrow’s telling, Obama made emotional judgments on political grounds. A close mutual friend of the couple recalls Obama explaining that ‘the lines are very clearly drawn. … If I am going out with a white woman, I have no standing here.’”

Trump Wanted to Focus on ‘Smoke-and-Mirrors’

In his new book, Ohio Gov. John Kasich retells the story that Donald Trump’s son, Don Jr., called a Kasich adviser during the 2016 presidential race and asked if the governor would consider being Trump’s vice president, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Don Jr. said Kasich could be in charge of “all domestic and foreign policy,” and Trump would “be busy making American (sic) great again.”

Kasich writes: “He would leave the running of the country to someone else and keep his focus on the smoke-and-mirror aspects of the job of president, helping Americans feel that he was somehow making their lives better just by being at the helm.”

The Problem with Political Books Today

Matt Bai: “I don’t know the authors of Shattered, Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, but they seem like capable and energetic reporters. There’s no lack of industry in the breezy book they apparently wrote in less time than it takes me to finish reading one.”

“No, my problem is with the entire genre of contemporary campaign books, which don’t illuminate the soullessness of our political culture so much as they reflect it. You can’t really treat presidential politics as a form of shallow entertainment and then claim to be shocked when a shallow entertainer wins the presidency.”

“I get why today’s political writers would want to emulate the books a lot of us grew up reading… But you can’t actually write the books that a McGinniss or a Cramer wrote now, even if you have half their talent. That’s because, to quote ‘Hamilton,’ those guys were in the room where it happened. They were witnesses to history, at a time when history hadn’t yet conspired to lock them out.”

Inside Clinton’s Doomed Campaign

Matt Taibbi reviews Shattered by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes:

Shattered is sourced almost entirely to figures inside the Clinton campaign who were and are deeply loyal to Clinton. Yet those sources tell of a campaign that spent nearly two years paralyzed by simple existential questions: Why are we running? What do we stand for?

If you’re wondering what might be the point of rehashing this now, the responsibility for opposing Donald Trump going forward still rests with the (mostly anonymous) voices described in this book.

What Allen and Parnes captured in Shattered was a far more revealing portrait of the Democratic Party intelligentsia than, say, the WikiLeaks dumps. And while the book is profoundly unflattering to Hillary Clinton, the problem it describes really has nothing to do with Secretary Clinton. The real protagonist of this book is a Washington political establishment that has lost the ability to explain itself or its motives to people outside the Beltway.