The Warm Bucket Brigade: Drunks, Hacks, Crooks and Oddballs—The Story of the American Vice Presidency

Jeremy Lott, Author . Thomas Nelson $22.99 (297p) ISBN 978-1-59555-082-8

The vice presidency of the United States may be an awkward, ill-defined creation, but it has now inspired the book it probably deserves, a chatty, discursive chronicle that wobbles uncertainly between Veep 101, comic fable and perceptive political commentary. Despite his lighthearted style, it's clear that Lott, an accomplished writer and widely published columnist, has not only researched his topic carefully, but is also, as his discussions of vice presidents Nixon and Tyler reveal, prepared to come to his own, occasionally unconventional, conclusions. That said, he throws in so many jokes (some good, some startlingly bad), breezy asides and anecdotes (including the revelation that the bucket filled with a warm liquid to which FDR's John Nance Garner famously compared the vice presidency allegedly contained something less appealing than “spit”) that they drown out the overall story. This confusion is compounded by the way Lott's narrative is disproportionately focused on those vice presidents who made it to the White House. The vice presidency's current significance is another matter. It has, as Lott notes, become a real source of power in its own right. However, those looking for a serious understanding of the vice presidency are best advised to look elsewhere. (Mar. 11)

Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 03/01/2008
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Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4185-7074-3
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