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ANYONE CAN GROW UP: How George Bush and I Made It to the White House

Margaret Carlson, Author
Margaret Carlson, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-684-80890-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-6798-1
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4391-1618-0
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The ghosts of politicians past and present rattle their chains in this collection of spirited columns from the past decade by Carlson, Time magazine's first female columnist. Reading these pieces is a bit like flipping through the late-night monologues of yesteryear. Remember Dubya's smirk, Clinton's wagging finger and Al Gore's "no controlling authority"? You'll find them afresh here, along with more substantive subjects like the death of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and the transformation of Donald Rumsfeld circa September 12, 2001, from "stealth Cabinet member" to ubiquitous media presence. You'll also find Carlson examining topics largely ignored by her male colleagues: the value of a corporate wife, in financial, divorce court terms ("the richer the household, the less, proportionally, she gets") and why Nicole Simpson was never considered a "fallen hero" like her football husband. Carlson does all this with verve, insight and a gift for wry phrasing. The only problem is that columns, by their nature, focus on the questions of the day and the minutiae of the moment. This kind of reporting loses its luster years later, when readers know how it all ends and no longer care about the details. (One too many columns begin with conditionals like "If George Bush wins in November..." or blunder into unintended irony, as with Carlson's 1996 comment that "Martha Stewart's face is everywhere but on a Wanted poster.") Nonetheless, this collection is a fine expression of a strong career, and an astute snapshot of the politic headliners of the last decade. (May)

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