Sunday, March 1, 2009

Donna Brazile

While I was in Dallas a few weeks ago I was the winner of a book by Donna Brazile, Cooking With Grease: Stirring The Pots In America. Now I'm not one to follow every American politics story and was not sure how I felt about this book, or if I would even read it. Last weekend I found myself short of reading material and decided to try Brazile, after 30 fast pages I was hooked and shocked. Her story is moving, her style captivating, her book enlightening. Here is what has to say:

Harvard professor, Washington power broker and former Gore 2000 campaign chair Donna Brazile's life might make for a pretty entertaining Hollywood movie if an actress could be found gutsy enough to take on such a complex and intimidating leading role. From humble blue-collar Louisiana beginnings as one of nine children, Brazile went on to organize voter registration drives, marches to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., and ultimately national political campaigns. In her memoir Cooking With Grease, Brazile shares candid perspectives on her employers and causes. And while Mike Dukakis and Dick Gephardt fans will be pleased to know their men are included, it is the insights on the charismatic preacher/activist/presidential candidate Jesse Jackson and Al Gore, whom Brazile insists won the controversial 2000 election, that make this a must read for devotees of modern political history. Her accounts of being backstage in the Gore camp shed valuable light on the tense political climate of that year's election and post-election recount mess in a way that only a select few from either the Bush or Gore campaigns could legitimately offer. Still, none of the candidates shine quite so brightly in this book as the author herself. Washington is, after all, operated, with a few exceptions, by moneyed white men and for a black woman from a humble background to succeed requires determination, a quick wit, and a powerful intellect. As Brazile climbs the political ladder, those qualities come in to sharp relief. But while Cooking With Grease is inspirational, and Brazile really ought to be auctioning the film rights if she hasn't already done so, it doesn't preach, inspiring by example rather than exhorting the reader to follow Brazile's own course of action.

Enjoy ~SJ

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