Inventing Al Gore CL: Avail in Pa

Bill Turque, Author
Bill Turque, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $25 (448p) ISBN 978-0-395-88323-5
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Hardcover - 713 pages - 978-0-7862-2659-7
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-618-13160-0
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-544-36426-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-41693-1
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Veteran Newsweek journalist Turque has produced a marvel of reporting--a dispassionate election-year biography without an agenda. In contrast to last year's fiercely partisan Gore: A Political Life by conservative pundit Bob Zelnick, Turque's book offers a balanced, insightful critique of the man who seems to have been groomed for the presidency from birth. (""We raised him for it!"" Gore's father, a former U.S. senator, exulted in 1992 when he learned his son was headed for the White House as vice-president.) Turque shows how the pressure to succeed has shaped virtually every aspect of Gore's career--from his decision to volunteer for service in Vietnam to his ""Faustian bargain"" with Clinton in 1992. The same ambition, Turque believes, has also led to Gore's most embarrassing missteps, including the 1996 fundraising scandals and his preposterous claim that he invented the Internet. The focus throughout the book is on Gore's record, although Turque can't resist a few speculations about the characteristics of a possible Gore presidency: Gore, the author predicts, would be a vigorous, high-minded executive, prone to techno-evangelism and moral exactitude; he would also tend to be ideologically inconsistent and politically tone-deaf. Sharply written and well researched, Turque's book laudably refuses to dismiss Gore as either a wooden caricature or the country's most famous beta male. It depicts him as a complex individual capable of both stalwart leadership, as when he stiffened Clinton's spine during the 1995 budget fight with Gingrich, and callous exploitation, as when he went against the wishes of his environmental constituency to aid a polluting paper mill during his 1988 campaign for president. This biography should be indispensable reading for anyone wishing to make an informed decision in the 2000 election. First serial to Newsweek. (Mar.)
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