Presidents and the People's House: Power and Politics from the Era of McCarthy to the Age of Gingrich

Jim Wright, Author Turner Publications Inc $25.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-57036-278-1
An intimate of nine presidents from Eisenhower to Clinton, former Congressman Wright (D.-Texas) resigned from his post as Speaker of the House in 1989, a move he blames on character assassination by Newt Gingrich and other conservative Republicans whose ""predatory,"" elitist agenda would have this result: ""The rich will get richer; the poor will get poorer; there'll be fewer of us in the middle."" In this brisk, outspoken, sometimes bland political memoir, Wright recalls that he rode in the Dallas motorcade close behind President Kennedy and heard three distinct rifle shots fired. A crusader for Johnson's Great Society programs, Wright has held unpredictable views, including his unpopular support for Nixon's deepening involvement in Vietnam and his fierce opposition to Reagan's interventionist policy in Nicaragua. He writes affectingly of the difficulty of balancing his career with being a father to four children, and of his divorce in 1970 followed by remarriage two years later. Defending Clinton's overall record, Wright calls for a new social compact emphasizing investment in education, infrastructure and full employment. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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