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The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics
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Simon & Schuster 2015
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Description
Barton Swaim was struggling to find an academic job—he'd recently received a PhD in English—when he sent his resume to Mark Sanford, the conservative and controversial governor of South Carolina. He thought he could improve the governor's writing and speeches.
On the surface, this is the story of Sanford's rise and fall. But it's really an account of what happens when a band of believers attach themselves to an ambitious narcissist. Everyone knows this kind of politician—a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn't have to live by the rules. Swaim describes what makes people invest in their leaders, how those leaders do provide moments of inspiration, and then how they let them down.
The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Through his three years in the governor's office, Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he'd rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he'd wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he'd belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. In the end, it's also an account of the very human staffers who risk a life in politics out of conviction and learn to survive a broken heart.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/14/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781476769967
ASIN:
B00P42X38K
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Barton Swaim. (2015). The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Barton Swaim. 2015. The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Barton Swaim, The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Simon & Schuster, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Barton Swaim. The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Simon & Schuster, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:52:16
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Barton Swaim, a native South Carolinian, attended the University of South Carolina and the University of Edinburgh. From 2007 to 2010 he worked for Mark Sanford, South Carolina's governor, as a communications officer and speechwriter. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife, Laura, and three daughters, and writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and The Times Literary Supplement. The Speechwriter is his first book.
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shortDescription
Barton Swaim was struggling to find an academic job—he’d recently received a PhD in English—when he sent his resume to Mark Sanford, the conservative and controversial governor of South Carolina. He thought he could improve the governor’s writing and speeches.
On the surface, this is the story of Sanford’s rise and fall. But it’s really an account of what happens when a band of believers attach themselves to an ambitious narcissist. Everyone knows this kind of politician—a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn’t have to live by the rules. Swaim describes what makes people invest in their leaders, how those leaders do provide moments of inspiration, and then how they let them down.
The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more...
isOwnedByCollections
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title
The Speechwriter
fullDescription
Barton Swaim was struggling to find an academic job—he'd recently received a PhD in English—when he sent his resume to Mark Sanford, the conservative and controversial governor of South Carolina. He thought he could improve the governor's writing and speeches.
On the surface, this is the story of Sanford's rise and fall. But it's really an account of what happens when a band of believers attach themselves to an ambitious narcissist. Everyone knows this kind of politician—a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn't have to live by the rules. Swaim describes what makes people invest in their leaders, how those leaders do provide moments of inspiration, and then how they let them down.
The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Through his three years in the governor's office, Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he'd rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he'd wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he'd belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. In the end, it's also an account of the very human staffers who risk a life in politics out of conviction and learn to survive a broken heart.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 20, 2015
        Swaim, a writer for the Wall Street Journal and Times Literary Supplement, cut his political teeth as speechwriter for former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. The reflections here follow Swain’s work from 2007 to June 2009, when Sanford, who is today a state congressman, notoriously went AWOL with his Argentine girlfriend. This event became a media sensation and shortly led to widespread censure. Much of the book is an entertaining inside look at state politics and how the wheels of executive office grind. The book’s best passages explore the appeal of charismatic, earnest, and morally challenged souls like Sanford, who invariably devastate their true-believing but self-interested, in-on-the-game handlers and operatives through disastrous public exposure. Demonstrating empathy mixed with appropriate caution, Swaim reflects on how politicians can be corrupted by “the praise, the fawning, the seriousness with which people take their remarks, the gaze of audiences, the way a crowded room falls silent when they enter.” His report on his experiences as a governor’s idea man is a fine, sometimes brilliant foray into the nature of contemporary politics, the charismatic narcissists who seek high elected office, and the enablers who allow them to dance in the spotlight.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2015

        The subtitle alludes to the author's three years (2007-10) as a speechwriter and communications officer for South Carolina's controversial Governor Mark Sanford. Although Swaim's education was brief, it was memorable, leaving him embittered about Sanford and politicians in general. The governor was popular with voters, having been reelected in a landslide victory, but his staff and most of the state legislators loathed him. Swaim shares stories that will leave readers shaking their heads about Sanford's bullying and arrogance. Some of these tales are funny, but the humor is more gallows than knee-slapping. To his credit, Swaim lauds his former boss for being able to relate to his constituents, and for his principled stand against President Barack Obama's stimulus package. Sanford's second term ended under threats of impeachment for his extramarital affair, which became a national media event and a disgrace for the governor and staffers such as Swaim who believed in him. Currently, Sanford represents South Carolina in the House of Representatives and Swaim is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard. VERDICT The brisk narrative will grip readers who enjoy insider accounts and offers an unvarnished view of pressure-cooker politics. See Horace Busby's The Thirty-First of March and William F. Gavin's Speechwright for fascinating takes on presidential speechwriters.--Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A Brief Education in Politics
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