The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics (Hardcover)

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Michael's August 2015 pick, 2 of 2

The Speechwriter, by Barton Swaim

Not simply a witty memoir about working through a political trainwreck,(the implosion of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford—the man who gave “hiking on the Appalachian Trail” a bad name), this book should also resonate with anyone who has worked in a dysfunctional office, for a demanding, mercurial boss, or in the middle of a crisis.

“Mr. Swaim is so talented a writer, and has such an eye for a telling detail, that you suspect you could put him in any workplace — chicken-processing plant, airport sunglass emporium, stoner skate park — and he would make it come alive in the best possible way. He happens to have great material in Governor Sanford, as demanding, disorganized, dissatisfied, conceited, odd, bullying and cheap a boss as a reader could hope for.”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times

— From Michael Herrmann


An intimate and hilarious look inside the spin room of the modern politician: a place where ideals are crushed, English is mangled, people are humiliated, and the opportunity for humor is everywhere.

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 the 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.

The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Swaim paints a portrait of a man 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 laughing stock 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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781476769929
ISBN-10: 1476769923
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 14th, 2015
Pages: 224
Language: English