Review: Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter

By | May 28, 2014

Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter
Confessions of a Presidential Speechwriter by Craig R. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Note: I received this as a gift.

This book is a good insight into the life and thoughts of the writer, Dr. Craig Smith, who has many talents and passions for life and politics. Dr. Smith, a professor of rhetoric and debate, gives great insights into the politicians of the late 20th and early 21 century, focusing on Republicans he served as speech-writer and advisor. I found it especially interesting when he talked about Senator Bob Packwood, as Dr. Craig worked closely with the senator for decades up through the time of the senator’s resignation from the senate. He also shares other thoughts about politicians such as Ford, Dole, Kennedys JFK, RFK, and TEK, Nixon, McCain, and even Obama. And of course he shares his thoughts about being deeply closeted in a deeply anti-gay Republican party.

However, there were weak points in the book with regards to tone, voice, and point-of-view. I will confess I do not read many autobiographies, so perhaps it is how these kinds of books are written, but the style of writing changes constantly throughout the book. Sometimes it is a lecture, sometimes it is an overview of what happened, sometimes it is personal insights.

When I was finished, I had one thought: the book does not feel “formed.” It feels like a very good first draft that needs a book editor to put right. That was the most frustrating aspect to the book—I felt as if it wasn’t really finished before it got printed. It was even more frustrating because the author is known for his books on rhetoric, debate, and communication.

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