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The Speechwriter A Brief Education in Politics

ISBN: 9781476769943 | 147676994X
Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub. Date: 7/5/2016

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The Speechwriter brings you inside the spin room of the modern politician in “a wry and eloquent memoir” (The Wall Street Journal) that is “the best book about politics I’ve read in years” (GQ) and “will become a classic” (The Washington Post).

Everyone knows this kind of politician: a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn’t have to live by the rules. Through his own experience as a speechwriter for a controversial governor, Barton Swaim tells the story of a band of believers who attach themselves to this sort of ambitious narcissist—and what happens when it all comes crashing down.

As The Washington Post put it, “The Speechwriter feels like Veep meets All the King’s Men—an entertaining and engrossing book not just about the absurdities of working in the press shop of a Southern governor but also about the meaning of words in public life.” Swaim paints a portrait of a boss so principled he’d rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he’d wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he’d belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized to his staff for making his administration the laughingstock of the country. On the surface, this is the story of one politician’s rise and fall. But in the end, it’s a story about us—the very real people who want to believe in our leaders and must learn to survive with broken hearts. The Speechwriter is “a wryly funny, beautifully written…dissection of what it is like to perform a thankless job for an unreasonable person in a dysfunctional office…A marvelously entertaining book. It’s clear [Swaim] spent a long time on it, because he’s made it look so effortless” (The New York Times).

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