Fall reading focuses on politics

By Diane Evans

McClatchy News Service

If "summer reading" implies light and breezy, it follows that fall reading, especially in a presidential election, would be heavy at times and windy.

Here are a few of this season’s election books:

  • A new paperback edition: "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics," by Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden. Publisher Random House says that book outlines the "guiding principles" Biden learned early in life, including the importance of keeping promises.
  • Of six titles that list John McCain as an author, the book that offers the most background Republican nominee is "Faith Of My Fathers." Written with longtime staffer Mark Salter and published in 1999, this memoir chronicles the lineage of the McCain family tree going back to Scot Presbyterian warriors.

For a taste of the GOP nominee’s flavor: "The McCains, bred to fight as Highland Scots of the Clan McDonald, arrived in the New World shortly after America gained her independence, when Hugh McCain settled his wife and six children in Caswell County, North Carolina, and built his estate, Lenox Castle."
Hugh’s great-grandson added more firepower to the McCain legacy by marrying into the Youngs, a prestigious military family in which one descendant served on Gen. George Washington’s staff. "No one in my family is certain if we are descended from an unbroken line of military officers," McCain writes. "But you can trace that heritage through many generations of our family, finding our ancestors in every American war."


  • Books by Democratic nominee Barack Obama include "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," and "Barack Obama In His Own Words."

The "Dreams from My Father" memoir was first published in 1995, then re-released following Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It discusses Obama’s search for identity and his effort to connect with an absent father and find his ancestry in a trip to Kenya.
Obama’s 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope," describes how his upbringing shaped his political values.

  • A title the New York Times recently described as showing "significant early success:" "The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality." It is an attack book by Jerome R. Corsi, who also co-authored a book in summer 2004 challenging Sen. John Kerry’s Vietnam record during Kerry’s bid for the presidency. The title on the Kerry book was "Unfit for Command."

"The Obama Nation" portrays Obama as a radical who has tried to cover "extensive connections to Islam." The publisher is Threshold Editions, a division of Simon & Schuster. So happens that Threshold’s chief editor is Mary Matalin, the former Republican operative.
"The goal is to defeat Obama," Corsi told the New York Times.

  • Not surprisingly, sales are climbing fast for a biography on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the relatively unknown Republican vice presidential candidate. The book is called "Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment on Its Ear," by Kayelene Johnson. The author was a "writer-in-residence"’ for the Anchorage School District. Her previous books relate to history and travel in Alaska.
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