Friday, January 16, 2009

Above Hallowed Ground or Work Hard Studyand Keep Out of Politics

Above Hallowed Ground: A Photographic Record of September 11, 2001

Author: Christopher Sweet

"On the morning of September 11th, a new kind of horror shook the world. Terrorists crashed two passenger airliners into the World Trade Center in the worst attack on U.S. soil in the nation's history. But at the same time a new generation of heroes rose up to fight it. This book chronicles not only the devastation of that day, but also the valor and heroism of those who saved thousands of lives." Not one of these photographs has been published before. On top of that, these images offer a vantage point no ordinary photographers could obtain: They were taken by members of the New York City Police Department, uniformed and civilian, who were on the scene moments after the first plane hit and who were behind the scenes during the entire rescue and recovery effort.

School Library Journal

Adult/High School-One of the better photographic remembrances of the World Trade Center disaster. None of these color photos have heretofore been published and many depict scenes or were taken from positions that were off-limits to commercial or amateur photographers. Particularly breathtaking are those taken by Dave Fitzpatrick, an off-duty detective who rushed to board a police helicopter that morning and spent the remainder of the day taking thousands of photographs "that became the only aerial views of the devastation and early rescue efforts." The photos are chronologically arranged, beginning minutes after the first plane hit the North Tower, continuing through the succeeding days of search-and-rescue operations, and culminating with the cleanup. Many are full page and there are at least a dozen spreads. As a "photographic record," this coffee-table-sized book documents a historic event, confirming, for example, why no rooftop rescues were possible and the extent of the damage to the entire area now known as Ground Zero. It also stands as a tribute to the public-safety employees, construction workers, and volunteers who worked side by side throughout a horrific ordeal. The book is dedicated to the 23 members of the NYPD who were lost that day and to their families.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Book review: Der Neue Industriestaat

'Work Hard, Study...and Keep Out of Politics!': Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life

Author: III James Baker

A revelatory memoir from one of the great political minds of our time.

The real inside story of why Gerald Ford did not ask Ronald Reagan to be his running mate in 1976-and why Reagan did not pick Ford in 1980; the battle over Florida 2000; the aborted White House job switch that inadvertently opened the door to the Iran-Contra scandal; the Bush campaign's wish that Dan Quayle would offer to resign from the ticket in 1992; the White House turmoil in the dark days following the Reagan assassination attempt; and a great deal more . . .

White House Chief of Staff (twice), Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and campaign chairman for three different candidates in five successive presidential campaigns-few people have lived and breathed politics as deeply as James Baker. Now, with candor and Texas-style storytelling, and not a few surprises, he takes us into his thirty-five years behind the scenes.

None of it was planned. His grandfather, the "Captain," drilled this advice into him: "Work hard, study . . . and keep out of politics!" Then a personal tragedy changed the life of a forty-year-old Texas Democratic lawyer and he never looked back. From campaign horsetrading, which sometimes got rough ("Politics ain't beanbag," says Baker), to the inner councils of the Reagan and Bush administrations to the controversies of today, Baker offers frank talk and spellbinding narratives, along with personal appraisals of six presidents and a constellation of others. It was a long, unexpected journey from Houston, Texas, to Washington, D.C.-and you'll want to travel it with him.

The New York Times - Jacob Heilbrunn

Anyone looking for yet another Republican apostate to denounce Bush should look elsewhere. But there's no need to worry: the stiletto once wielded so deftly by Baker in Washington has not gone dull. Baker, who has already discussed the end of the cold war in an earlier book called The Politics of Diplomacy, here offers a more personal account that implicitly contrasts the past with the present, and is the more telling for its restraint. He focuses on his years as a political operative and official in the Ford, Reagan and Bush 1 administrations to draw lessons about the importance of planning ahead in running political campaigns and governments. Though his memoir may at some points envelop the Reagan years in a nostalgic haze, it provides an extraordinarily illuminating account of the decades-old Republican feud between old-money power brokers and true believers. Ultimately, it shows how he successfully kept the right in check—and what happens when someone doesn't.

Publishers Weekly

Baker's grandfather, a prominent Houston lawyer, told his grandson to avoid becoming a politician hence the title of this memoir. Baker intended to follow that advice, but, at age 40, he switched course after his wife died of cancer, leaving behind four sons. George Herbert Walker Bush persuaded the widower to change parties and work on Bush's Republican Party senatorial campaign to take his mind off his grief. Eventually, Baker played political and policymaking roles in the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, with nearly four years as Bush's secretary of state, including during the first Gulf war. More sweeping and less formal than Baker's 1995 memoir of his international adventures, The Politics of Diplomacy, this is also haphazardly organized despite its chronological approach. Baker seems to idolize all three presidents he served directly, though he alludes to character flaws and questionable decisions. His defense of the status quo is likely to please loyal Republicans, annoy loyal Democrats and make independents wonder. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal

Baker, an alumnus of three Republican presidential administrations (Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush) and advisor to five consecutive presidential campaigns, has written a readable personal and political memoir. While he offers insights into his childhood, his early life as a lawyer, and the death of his first wife from cancer in 1970, the heart of his book, titled after advice from his grandfather, is made up of insider observations gleaned from the many political figures with whom he worked. Delving into such events as the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981 and presidential campaigns and debates, Baker almost seems to be from a bygone era: political foes could still be friends outside of politics. While disagreeing with Jimmy Carter, who defeated Ford in the 1976 presidential election, Baker later cochaired the Commission on Federal Election Reform with him in 2005. Baker touches on his post-White House work, including helping George W. Bush with the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida. While definitely written from a Republican loyalist point of view and with more than a few comments about God and faith, Baker's book will interest political junkies on both sides of the aisle and remind them that party politics do not require disrespect between opponents. Suitable for public and academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.] Leigh Mihlrad, Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine of Yeshiva Univ., Bronx, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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