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Books by and about 2012 presidential nominees
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
A Life of Trial and Redemption
about V.P. Joe Biden (2010)
No Apology
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2010)
Young Guns
by Rep. Paul Ryan et al (2010)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Promises to Keep
by Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2007)
The Audacity of Hope
by Pres. Barack Obama (2006)
Turnaround
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2004)
Dreams from My Father
by Pres. Barack Obama (1996)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

A Reason to Believe
Lessons from an Improbable Life

by Gov. Deval Patrick



(Click for Amazon book review)

Click here for 25 full quotes from Deval Patrick in the book A Reason to Believe, by Gov. Deval Patrick.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

This book is Deval Patrick's memoir, through his re-election as Governor of Massachusetts in 2010. It is mostly not a political book, but instead the story of his life, which he calls his "Improbable Life." It's "improbable" that he would become Governor of Massachusetts because of his humble beginnings on Chicago's South Side, and a long series of improbable events (scholarship to Milton Academy; stint at the federal Justice Department after law school; corporate executive for Texaco and Coca Cola). This book details that improbable path.

The purpose of this book is twofold. First, it introduces the Massachusetts public to their Governor's personal history. Gov. Patrick did not rise up through the ranks of Democratic Party politics -- he held no elective office prior to the governorship. And second, it lays the groundwork for a future appointment or run for office.

When Sen. John Kerry got appointed to Secretary of State in late 2012, Gov. Patrick was the subject of much speculation about whether he would appoint himself as a Senate "placeholder" until a special election occurred. Gov. Patrick has denied any plans to do so, but certainly a Senate run may be in his future. Gov. Patrick is also a friend of Barack Obama, who may appoint him to a Cabinet role after his governorship ends in 2014 (or before, during the 2013 Cabinet replacements). While there is nothing concrete in the offing, Gov. Patrick is young (under 60; that's young for a politician) and presumably has a long political future.

The "Friend of Obama" part is more than just that both Obama and Patrick are middle-aged inspirational black politicians . The 2008 campaign included a big brouhaha about their common "inspirational" aspect. As detailed on pp. 212-3, Patrick met with Obama prior to Obama's presidential run, and advised Obama to use the phrase "Just Words" since they had served Patrick well. Here is an excerpt of the speech that Patrick used during his gubernatorial run in 2006, in response to his opponent, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey:

"Her dismissive point, and I hear it a lot from her staff, is all I have to offer is words. Just words. 'We holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal' -- just words. Just words. 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself;' Just words. 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.' Just words, 'I have a dream' -- just words."

Obama said essentially the exact same thing in 2008 when accused dismissively by Hillary Clinton of having no accomplishments except inspirational speeches. Obama was then accused of plagiarism. Patrick makes it clear in this book that he encouraged Obama to use his phrases (although critics might still say he was covering for Obama after the fact).

In summary, this book is a solid introduction to Governor Patrick's personal history with a good bit of political philosophy and public policy thrown in. it would serve America well if every politician laid it out as clearly as Patrick has.

P.S. Do not confuse this book with a book of the same title by former N.Y. Governor Mario Cuomo

-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, December 2012
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Civil Rights
    1970s: Routinely stopped by police, on foot in Milton MA.
    Daughter Katherine came out as lesbian at age 19.
Corporations
    Financial bottom line is not the only bottom line.
Crime
    As NAACP lawyer, freed wrongly convicted death row inmate.
    Criticized for urging DNA tests in rape cases.
Energy & Oil
    At Texaco: stop arguing about climate change & seek solution.
Foreign Policy
    1978: Rockefeller fellow on UN Development Program in Sudan.
Government Reform
    Show up & vote, to claim a stake in government.
Jobs
    At Coca Cola: transform employment practices and policies.
Principles & Values
    My life is often described as "improbable".
    Father left family when Deval was age four.
    Born in grandmother's bed, with no doctor.
    Bullied at school as "high yellow": not black enough.
    Circumstances, however difficult, need not be permanent.
    Learned "WASP Code" at Milton Academy.
    Learned Arabic while crossing the Sudanese desert.
    Grace and generosity feel contrarian in today's culture.
    Met wife, at Halloween party, while dressed as Masai warrior.
    Father & grandfather were accomplished jazz musicians.
    Faith is less about what you say & more about how you live.
    American idealism: believe we can perfect our country.
    2007: Just words? No, rhetoric can be inspirational vision.
War & Peace
    Bush was careless in starting Iraq war.
Welfare & Poverty
    Saw severe poverty in 1970s West Africa.
    As law student, won Legal Aid landlord-tenant cases.


The above quotations are from A Reason to Believe
Lessons from an Improbable Life

by Gov. Deval Patrick
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