Monday, May 17, 2004

I spent the weekend devouring most of Peggy Noonan's recently re-released memoir What I Saw at the Revolution.

Where to begin telling how much I love this book. It's funny, it's touching, it's perceptive, and it's beautifully written. It is the best political memoir I've ever read, and I've read a few of them. In fact, I honestly can't remember the last book I've enjoyed more. Every word is a delight.

That's not by accident, since the book is not really about politics; it's about the importance and power of words. Noonan crafted some of Ronald Reagan's most important speeches, and the snapshot she provides of the personalities in his White House has proved to be, over time, the definitive picture of that era.

Anyone who loves and values words will find a soul-mate in Noonan. Her illustration of what the Gettysburg Address would look like had it gone through the White House "staffing" proccess (wherein each department has it's say about what should stay and what should go in a speech) is worth the price of the book itself.

If Lou Cannon's and Edmund Morris's Reagan biographies are the bland dinner, Noonan's chronicle of her time in the administration is the delicious dessert. All books ought to be this much fun to read.

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