POLS: Great Writers on American Politicians from Bryan to Reagan by Jack Beatty
One of the BuzzFlash refrains is how a combination of headlines as news, shorter news cycles, and a White House that daily erases history and replaces it with the spin of the day -- how all these factors have created an "ahistorical" sense of the news.
American history, the Constitution, political biographies all become putty in the hands of the Bush White House who generally disregard the truth and replace it with deceptive spin.
Given that introduction, we found this 463-page anthology a readable reminder of the historical realities that marked some of our more famous political figures. The sections are all extracts from longer books and articles and tend to focus on one key feature of a political figure or crucial moment in his career. Also included is an invigorating background introduction to each chapter.
How refreshing to read Norman Mailer on JFK, or Mike Royko on Mayor Richard J. Daley (the father), Gary Wills on Jesse Jackson, Robert A. Caro on Sam Rayburn, Hodding Carter on Huey Long, H.L. Mencken on Herbert Hoover and Vachel Lindsay on William Jennings Bryan, among others.
BuzzFlash is so used to providing news and commentary on the Orwellian, near dictatorship of the Bush Cartel that we forgot about the richness of much of our political history until we read through this book.
There's nothing earth-shattering in "Pols." It's just a wonderful selection of rich excerpts that remind us that once we were a democracy filled with personalities that respected the American Constitution and our role as a democracy.
Contrast that with the elitist one-party clique running America like a banana republic now.
Well, "Pols," thanks for the memories.