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What I wouldn’t give now for another James Baker. A brilliant biography of a man who “ran” Washington and our country, and someone who is sorely missing in today’s political climate. Full of great stories about how government really works. Well worth the time to read it.
It was a pretty good book, but at the end the authors just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to subtly trash Trump via Mr. Baker. Maybe if there is another printing...along with an opportunity to speak with Baker about the Biden’s business dealings and what has been revealed...this book will be even more valuable to future readers and future Secretary of States and Chief of Staffs.
The book provides a useful narrative of Baker's career and has a lot of inside information, but doesn't have much useful insight into the man, the politics of his time, or his impact. It's mostly regurgitated conventional wisdom, plus every chapter grinds to a halt at least once for clunky editorializing about how Washington "used to get things done" that's as clueless as it is predictable. Someone else will need to write a biography that does more than just chronicle events.
Superb. This book does a terrific job of explaining how government and politics work at institutional and personal levels. This is the best book in this genre I have read since Harry McPherson's A Political Education. The authors cite plenty of criticisms of Baker's performance, but he nevertheless emerges as a public servant of the highest caliber.