A Good Fightby Sarah Brady, Merrill McLoughlin
"Sarah Brady's greatest ambition while growing up was to be June Cleaver. She wanted to be a wife and mother, to have a happy, peaceful home filled with the laughter of family and friends, to watch her children grow up surrounded by the same warmth and security she knew as a child." "It was not to be. In January 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Sarah's husband,… See more details below
"Sarah Brady's greatest ambition while growing up was to be June Cleaver. She wanted to be a wife and mother, to have a happy, peaceful home filled with the laughter of family and friends, to watch her children grow up surrounded by the same warmth and security she knew as a child." "It was not to be. In January 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Sarah's husband, James Brady, as his White House press secretary. And on March 31 of that year, a would-be assassin named John Hinckley fired six shots at the president, severely wounding him and taking down Jim Brady as well. One of Hinckley's bullets tore through Jim's brain, causing devastating damage that changed their lives forever." A Good Fight is Sarah Brady's own plainspoken, moving story of what happened to her, to Jim, and to their son, Scott, who was just two when his father was shot. It's a story of great terror, pain and dislocation, but also of triumph, love and transformation. Above all, it's a story about how you cannot know what life will bring.
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That evening, the driver and aide first took Jim to the White House, then came back and got Dorothy and me and a few others and drove us to the Illinois ball. Now as anyone who has ever been to an Inaugural ball knows, it is not at all what you expect. It is not an elegant affair with beautiful music and gorgeously dressed people twirling around the room. It's more like a huge stand-up cocktail party, with tons of people bumping into each other and standing in lines to get a drink. But it was fun, nonetheless.I brought Dorothy home fairly early, and I never saw or heard most of our guests come in that night. But the next morning, I did notice that they had brought home a pretty impressive cache of souvenirs--not just napkins or little plastic cups commemorating the occasion, but also several acrylic tables decorated with the Presidential seal. I, personally, didn't even get a napkin.... That winter, Jim worked extremely hard. He loved every minute of it, of course--was having the time of his life. Almost every night, he was on television, and Scott loved to watch him. He was a little confused, though, about exactly what his father did for a living. He thought Jim was working for Ronald McDonald. He had a Ronald McDonald puppet, and in his mind, the two Ronalds were one and the same. Many nights, there were dinners and other affairs that both Jim and I had to attend together. The parties--especially the embassy affairs--became more and more exotic. I couldn't help noticing how different I was in many small ways from the people we started associating with as soon as Jim became White House press secretary. The truth is that it was a lifestyle I wouldn't have chosen for myself. I like to eat earlier, I like to go to bed earlier. I like things much more casual. I'd much rather stay home. I know this sounds terrible, but there it is. I don't like big formal cocktail parties. I like small, casual affairs with friends. I really don't feel comfortable in big groups of people I don't know. But for those first few months, in the winter of 1981, it was all new, and wonderfully exciting. It was a true whirlwind, and that's the way I still see it in my mind's eye. And it lasted fewer than 70 days. Along with that bottle of champagne Jody Powell had left in Jim's office, he had also left a second gift, which had been passed down to him by Ron Nessen, President Ford's press secretary. It was a hideous bulletproof vest of blue brocade, clearly designed to be worn under a tuxedo. Pinned to it was a note: "Jim, it's not the guns that'll get you in this job; it's the gnats and the ants," meaning the endless tiny annoyances that came with the position. On Inaugural Day, we laughed, as Jody had meant us to. But it was the bullets that got Jim Brady.
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