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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

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

Lamar Alexander's Little Plaid Book:
311 Rules, Reminders, and Lessons About Running for Office and Making a Difference

by Lamar Alexander

(Click for Amazon book review)

OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

Lamar Alexander is currently the Senior Senator from Tennessee (since 2003; and just re-elected in November 2014), and he also served as Governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987, and then in the Cabinet as Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993 (under the first President Bush). But this book is about his 1996 presidential campaign; it's written in 1998, shortly after he lost to the nominee Bob Dole (but also losing to Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes, and barely beating Alan Keyes).

The title of the book refers to the most memorable aspect of Senator Alexander's presidential campaign: his plaid shirt. He was renowned for wearing a red-and-black plaid shirt at almost all campaign events. As Alexander describes it: "The shirt became the trademark of a winning, grass-roots campaign" (p. 7), which he first did in his gubernatorial campaign in 1978. His presidential supports in 1996 became known as "the plaid brigade" (p. 9). Alexander comments on the memorableness of the plaid shirt in his 1996 campaign, "I'm afraid that many people remembered my shirt more than they did my message" (p. 10).

Hence the plaid pattern adorns the cover of this book. But the grass-roots symbolism pervades its contents too: it feels like a homespun, grassroots homily. The book is intended as an advice book for political candidates, drawing from lessons learned on the campaign trail (p. 3). The advice is in the form of numbered notes, from 1 to 152 (there is a larger edition with 311 rules; our excerpts come from the 152-rule edition).

We at OnTheIssues care more for the parts of the book about issue stances, of which the book contains some. As far as advice for candidates goes, this book is tolerable; it outlines the basic necessities (staying in touch with your constituents; advertising locally; knowing the price of daily commodities) and some big-picture advice too. Evidently Alexander wanted to position himself as an "elder statesman" with this book -- the former candidate to whom new candidates went for advice when they wanted to start a campaign. But Alexander returned to the campaign trail in 2002, to win his current Senate seat, and to which he was handily re-elected to a third term in 2014. It is possible Alexander will run for president again, in which case this book will become an instant classic -- but it looks more like his time on the national stage has passed. The book serves as a memorial to a true grassroots Republican rather than having become a standard campaign reference.

-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, Dec. 2014
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)

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The above quotations are from Lamar Alexander's Little Plaid Book:
311 Rules, Reminders, and Lessons About Running for Office and Making a Difference

by Lamar Alexander.

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Page last edited: Feb 14, 2019