cover image Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards

Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards

Jan Reid. Univ. of Texas, $27 (460p) ISBN 978-0-292-71964-4

Many people remember Ann Richards's 1988 signature line about George W. Bush being "born with a silver foot in his mouth," but there was more to this spunky Texan politician than her gift of gab, as Texas Monthly%C2%A0writer-at-large Reid (Texas Tornado: The Life and Music of Doug Salim) attests. Reid's friendship with Richards (1933%E2%80%932006) permits her access into the complex, conflicted, larger-than-life personality of the self-made woman from Waco, Tex., who rose through the cutthroat ranks of state politics from county commissioner to governor and media celebrity. Her fascinating journey wasn't a smooth one, cluttered with alcoholism and a divorce, but through it all, her magnetic presence shines forth. Although her appointments of women, homosexuals, and minorities to state posts are huge achievements in a conservative region, her maverick style of pushing educational, prison, and environmental reforms stand out. Reid's revealing portrait of Richards%C2%A0pulls no punches and stands as a tribute to Richards's rare gifts of grit, survival, and grace. Photos. (Oct.)