The Washington Post
Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice Presidentby Stephen F. Hayes
During a forty-year career in politics, Vice President Dick Cheney has been involved in some of the most consequential decisions in recent American history. He was one of a few select advisers in the room when President Gerald Ford decided to declare an end to the Vietnam War. Nearly thirty years later, from the presidential bunker below the White House in the… See more details below
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During a forty-year career in politics, Vice President Dick Cheney has been involved in some of the most consequential decisions in recent American history. He was one of a few select advisers in the room when President Gerald Ford decided to declare an end to the Vietnam War. Nearly thirty years later, from the presidential bunker below the White House in the moments immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he helped shape the response: America's global war on terror.
Yet for all of his influence, the world knows very little about Dick Cheney. The most powerful vice president in U.S. history has also been the most secretive and guarded of all public officials. "Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?" Cheney asked rhetorically in 2004. "It's a nice way to operate, actually."
Now, in Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, New York Times bestselling author and Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen F. Hayes offers readers a groundbreaking view into the world of this most enigmatic man. Having had exclusive access to Cheney himself, Hayes draws upon hundreds of interviews with the vice president, his boyhood friends, political mentors, family members, reticent staffers, and senior Bush administration officials, to deliver a comprehensive portrait of one of the most important political figures in modern times.
The wide range of topics Hayes covers includes Cheney's withdrawal from Yale; his early run-ins with the law; the incident that almost got him blackballed from working in the Ford White House; his meteoric rise to congressional leadership; his opposition to removing Saddam Hussein from power after the first Gulf War; the solo, cross-country drive he took after leaving the Pentagon; his selection as Bush's running mate; his commanding performance on 9/11; the aggressive intelligence and interrogation measures he pushed in the aftermath of those attacks; the necessity of the Iraq War; the consequences of mistakes made during and after that war; and intelligence battles with the CIA and their lasting effects. With exhaustive reporting, Hayes shines a light into the shadows of the Bush administration and finds a very different Dick Cheney from the one America thinks it knows.
The Washington Post
Before he became George W. Bush's running mate in the 2000 election, Hayes reports, Dick Cheney called the vice presidency "a cruddy job." But during his tenure, Hayes argues, Cheney transformed "this traditionally inconsequential office" into "a focal point of presidential power." While emphasizing Cheney's role as vice president, this biography follows his entire political career, beginning with a 1968 congressional fellowship and including key positions in the Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations, as well as 21 years as a congressman. Drawing on interviews with Cheney and others, as well as TV interviews and other journalistic reports, Hayes covers this material engagingly and efficiently. A reporter for the Weekly Standardand author of a previous book on the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, Hayes approaches Cheney sympathetically, countering more critical accounts in the popular press-for example, he laments the way Ambassador Joseph Wilson's "flawed storyline" regarding forged evidence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Niger "hardened into conventional wisdom." The book may not convince detractors, but it sketches a vivid portrait of Cheney as an intelligent, quiet leader committed throughout his career, even as a member of Congress, to strengthening the power and authority of the executive branch. (July 24)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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CheneyThe Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President
By Stephen F. Hayes
HarperCollinsCopyright © 2007 Stephen F. Hayes
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe West
On January 30, 1945, Yeoman Richard Herbert Cheney was scheduled to return home to Sumner, Nebraska, on leave. That the break coincided with his son's birthday was serendipitous, but Marge Cheney told young Dick that his father had returned for the special celebration.
Cheney had grown up in Sumner, a rural, speck-on-the-map town 200 miles west of Lincoln, the state capital. For the first few years of his marriage, he supported his new family working as a bureaucrat in a program operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But in 1944, shortly after the United States joined the fighting in World War II, Cheney joined the U.S. Navy; he was assigned first to the Great Lakes Naval Station and eventually to Naval Station San Diego in southern California. Visits back home to Nebraska were rare.
When Cheney left, his wife, Marjorie, and their two young sons, Dick and Bobby, moved into the basement of his parents' home. Young Dick asked the questions any four-year-old might ask: Where has my father been? And why was he gone? Yeoman Cheney explained to his son that he was in the U.S. Navy and pointed to the insignia on hisshoulder. The most prominent feature of the yeoman's insignia is a large birdlike figure with its wings spread as if poised to fly. This only added to the confusion.
"I was convinced," Cheney recalls, "that when he was home he was my dad, but when he went back to the Navy, they put him through some kind of process and they turned him into one of those kind of deals I saw on his shoulder." Cheney thought the Navy turned his father into a bird. "I remember carrying that thought with me for years."
Dick Cheney lived his first thirteen years in Nebraska before moving farther west to Wyoming. His was an idyllic childhood and, for someone who would later be known for his gravity, remarkably carefree.
The family history of Richard Bruce Cheney, the forty-sixth vice president of the United States, is intertwined with the westward expansion of America. On his paternal side, Cheney's ancestors had virtually spanned the country in the course of the 1800s. His great-grandfather, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, was born in New Hampshire in 1829, and later moved with his family to Defiance, Ohio. There, he served as a captain in the Twenty-first Ohio Infantry and fought in the Civil War, becoming known as something of a Union hero; he served with distinction in many of the great battles of the war-at Stone's Ridge, the siege of Atlanta, and others.
After the war, Samuel Cheney returned to Defiance, where he ran the family lumberyard and worked part-time as a cabinetmaker. Although he had managed to survive unscathed through thirty- four battles, including some of the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War, Cheney's good fortune ended once he returned to Ohio. He lost part of his left hand in an accident at the sawmill and was unable to continue his trade. In the 1880s, he joined a growing number of pioneer families moving west in search of land and a new life. He settled in Amherst, Nebraska, on a homestead that would remain in the family for more than a century. He had a son, Thomas Herbert Cheney, in Ohio in 1869, and moved to Nebraska with his family when the boy was in his teens. A few years later, Thomas struck off to Sumner, Nebraska, where he would take a job as a cashier at what was the only bank in town.
Millions of pioneering Americans preceded the Cheneys in the migration west, and millions more would follow, pouring into the lands opened by the growth of the transcontinental railroad. Among them were Dick Cheney's maternal grandparents, Dave and Clarice Dickey. In the years after the turn of the century, they owned and operated the town diner in Syracuse, Nebraska, known as Dickey's Cafe. They weren't wealthy by any means, but they made enough money to survive.
This work led directly to jobs working as cooks on the Union Pacific railroad. The Dickeys lived for months at a time in a railcar as it moved up and down the tracks supplying food to the "section gangs" of 100 men who repaired old tracks and laid new ones. (Later, as a board member of Union Pacific, Cheney would discover that although they both worked and lived on the railroad, Dave Dickey was not an official Union Pacific employee because he was partially deaf and failed his physical; his wife, however, shows up on the payroll records as a cook and parttime bookkeeper.)
The Dickeys enjoyed life. Dick Cheney recalls: "That whole side of the family loved to play cards, drink a little bourbon"-here he pauses for a slight smile-"and loved a good story." In this environment, Marjorie Lorraine Dickey, Cheney's mother, developed a strong, energetic personality.
Richard Herbert Cheney's family was quite different. His father, Thomas Herbert Cheney, married young. His first wife died not long after their wedding, and several years later he married Margaret Ellen Tyler. Margaret, Richard Herbert's mother, was a devout Baptist who frowned on gambling and drinking and was determined to instill in her only child those same values.
Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 30, 1941, ten months before the attacks on Pearl Harbor would draw the United States into combat. He had an upbringing typical of most kids raised in wartime America. His father was away in the Navy, his mother ran the household, and his extended family pitched in to ease the burdens-financial and other-of life during World War II. He moved to Sumner at the age of three and lived there until his father returned from California after the war in 1946.
Once reunited, the Cheney family returned to Lincoln so that Yeoman Cheney could reclaim his job with the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). The SCS was a bureau of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, created as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Its mission was to promote soil conservation and combat soil erosion, both tasks crucial to the development of farmland throughout the country, particularly in the West ...
Excerpted from Cheney by Stephen F. Hayes Copyright © 2007 by Stephen F. Hayes. Excerpted by permission.
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Alan Sklar is the winner of several AudioFile Earphones Awards and a multiple finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award. Named a Best Voice of 2009 by AudioFile magazine, his work has twice earned him a Booklist Editors' Choice Award, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and Audiobook of the Year by ForeWord magazine.
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