Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics

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A brilliant and penetrating look behind the scenes of modern American politics, Primary Colors is a funny, wise, and dramatic story with characters and events that resemble some familiar, real-life figures. When a former congressional aide becomes part of the staff of the governor of a small Southern state, he watches in horror, admiration, and amazement, as the governor mixes calculation and sincerity in his not-so-above-board campaign for the presidency.
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About the author

Joe Klein, a journalist for nearly three decades, is currently Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker". In addition to "Primary Colors", his previous books include "Payback: Five Marines After Vietnam" & "Woody Guthrie: A Life".

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3.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
May 6, 2009
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780307559234
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Humorous / General
Fiction / Political
Fiction / Psychological
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Paul Harvey Collins was the son of an Island Boy who was raised on Sullivans Island South Carolina. When he was in High School he and a friend from the upper part of the State were on a Civics Class trip to the South Carolina legislature at the same time. They were not impressed by the workings of government and decided to enter politics as a career. They made their lifes work the improvement of government. After college and law school they were elected to the South Carolina legislature and made important changes to the governments of several areas of the State. They reduced the number of governments and reduced the size of the governments by mergers of governments. This achievement lower the overhead cost of government and improved the effectiveness of the governments. They were elected to the Federal Congress and were very dissatisfied with their ability to get things done. The Congress remained a Do Nothing Congress, but they were able to get other States to merge county and city governments and reduce overhead cost. Paul Harvey Collins was elected President and greatly improved the Executive Branch of the government. He reduced overhead cost of that Branch. He was able to improve governments in the Islamic world and bring Peace and Prosperity to the world. Near the end of his second term as President he was able to have a Constitutional Convention that provided a new effective and efficient method of government for the United States of America. The new Constitution provided a unicameral legislature of a Senate with the one hundred members elected from near equal population Senate Districts. The Senate appointed the President who served like a Chief Executive Officer in a corporation. The President served at the pleasure of the Senate as a Chief Executive Officer serves at the pleasure of the Board of the Corporation. The people elect the legislature like the stock holders of a corporation elects the Board. The story of Paul Harvey Collins life is total by him to a well-known Presidential Biography. The story begins in the Paul Harvey Collins Presidential Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina.
People on the right are furious. People on the left are livid. And the center isn’t holding. There is only one thing on which almost everyone agrees: there is something very wrong in Washington. The country is being run by pollsters. Few politicians are able to win the voters’ trust. Blame abounds and personal responsibility is nowhere to be found. There is a cynicism in Washington that appalls those in every state, red or blue. The question is: Why? The more urgent question is: What can be done about it?
Few people are more qualified to deal with both questions than Joe Klein.
There are many loud and opinionated voices on the political scene, but no one sees or writes with the clarity that this respected observer brings to the table. He has spent a lifetime enmeshed in politics, studying its nuances, its quirks, and its decline. He is as angry and fed up as the rest of us, so he has decided to do something about it—in these pages, he vents, reconstructs, deconstructs, and reveals how and why our leaders are less interested in leading than they are in the “permanent campaign” that political life has become.
The book opens with a stirring anecdote from the night of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Klein re-creates the scene of Robert Kennedy’s appearance in a black neighborhood in Indianapolis, where he gave a gut-wrenching, poetic speech that showed respect for the audience, imparted dignity to all who listened, and quelled a potential riot. Appearing against the wishes of his security team, it was one of the last truly courageous and spontaneous acts by an American politician—and it is no accident that Klein connects courage to spontaneity. From there, Klein begins his analysis—campaign by campaign—of how things went wrong. From the McGovern campaign polling techniques to Roger Ailes’s combative strategy for Nixon; from Reagan’s reinvention of the Republican Party to Lee Atwater’s equally brilliant reinvention of behind-the-scenes strategizing; from Jimmy Carter to George H. W. Bush to Bill Clinton to George W.—as well as inside looks at the losing sides—we see how the Democrats become diffuse and frightened, how the system becomes unbalanced, and how politics becomes less and less about ideology and more and more about how to gain and keep power. By the end of one of the most dismal political runs in history—Kerry’s 2004 campaign for president—we understand how such traits as courage, spontaneity, and leadership have disappeared from our political landscape.
In a fascinating final chapter, the author refuses to give easy answers since the push for easy answers has long been part of the problem. But he does give thoughtful solutions that just may get us out of this mess—especially if any of the 2008 candidates happen to be paying attention.
On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House–and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek–one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie’s tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?

In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry–a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Curtis Sittenfeld's Sisterland.


Praise for American Wife

“Curtis Sittenfeld is an amazing writer, and American Wife is a brave and moving novel about the intersection of private and public life in America. Ambitious and humble at the same time, Sittenfeld refuses to trivialize or simplify people, whether real or imagined.”
–Richard Russo

“What a remarkable (and brave) thing: a compassionate, illuminating, and beautifully rendered portrait of a fictional Republican first lady with a life and husband very much like our actual Republican first lady’s. Curtis Sittenfeld has written a novel as impressive as it is improbable.”
–Kurt Andersen
This true story of two decorated combat veterans who find a new way to save their comrades and heal their country is “a great look at two of the best veteran organizations going and the incredible humans who make the effort work” (Jon Stewart).

In Charlie Mike, a true account that “reads like a novel” (Publishers Weekly) and “explodes like a thriller” (The Huffington Post), Klein tells the dramatic story of Eric Greitens and Jake Wood, larger-than-life war heroes who come home and use their military values to help others.

Wounded in Iraq, Navy SEAL Eric Greitens returns home to find that his fellow veterans all want the same thing: to continue to serve their country. He founds The Mission Continues to provide paid public service fellowships for wounded veterans. One of the first fellows is former Marine sergeant Jake Wood, a natural leader who begins Team Rubicon, organizing 9/11 veterans for dangerous disaster relief projects around the world. “We do chaos,” he says.

“A deep and compelling exploration of a group of young veterans determined to continue serving after leaving the military” (The Washington Post), this is a story that hasn’t been told before—a saga of lives saved, not wasted. The chaos these soldiers face isn’t only in the streets of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake or in New York City after Hurricane Sandy—it’s also in the lives of their fellow veterans. Charlie Mike shows how Greitens and Wood draw on the military virtues of discipline and selflessness to guide others towards inner peace and, ultimately, to help build a more vigorous nation.
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