Zelnick lost his job as political reporter for ABC News after writing this probing account which fully evaluates Al Gore's evolving political career.
Jonah Goldberg...[A] well-writtenthoroughand surprisingly interesting consideration of a man widely regarded as the only person duller than Warren Christopher....There are few cheap shots here. Gore: A Political Lifescrupulously sticks to Gore's political life. What is frightening is how political that life has been. National Review
Philip Terzian...[This] patient, painstaking, thoroughly fair assessment of Gore's life and career is the best account we have...of this famous man who is largely unknown to the American public. Zelnick's reporting enabled me...to see Gore with some clarity... The American Spectator
Richard L. Berke...[A] useful and comprehensive survey of the highs and lows of Gore's political career....Even if he did not uncover much, Zelnick does provide some tantalizing tidbits....[A]s the first in a parade of biographies of the Vice President, this book is likely to become a resource for Gore-watchers as the campaign unfolds...
The New York Times Book Review
Library JournalZelnick (Backfire: A Reporters Look At Affirmative Action, Regnery, 1996), a conservative former ABC correspondent, presents a trudging portrayal of Vice President Al Gore, whom pundit Michael Kinsley once dubbed an old persons idea of a young person. The son of the late Al Gore Sr., longtime senator from Tennessee, young Al spent his youth preparing for a life in politics, even volunteering for Vietnam after Harvard to help save his fathers reputation with his hawkish constituents. Zelnick acknowledges the younger Gores dependability as a senator and devoted family man but raises some hard and fair questions about his dogmatic, at times unscientific views of global warming; his unseemly fundraising activities in the White House; and his simultaneous attacks on the cigarette-induced lung cancer that killed his sister and promotion of subsidies for down-home tobacco farmers. Other criticisms, such as self-promotion, trading influence for votes, and flip-flopping on issues, are, for better or worse, required political skills. Recommended for public libraries primarily for the controversial issues raised.Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
BooknewsZelnick, a former ABC news correspondent who now teaches at Boston College, provides an inside view of Al Gore, whose entire life has been dedicated to either his father's or his own political careers. A self-described "screaming moderate," this biography enhances this contradictory picture of Gore, examining both the image of the controlling "Boy Scout of American Politics," and the more volatile man who has written that America's abuse of the environment is comparable to the Nazi genocide against the Jews. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus ReviewsForced to leave ABC News in 1998 because he was working on this tendentious book, Zelnick (Backfire: A Reporter's Look at Affirmative Action, 1996) hacks away at Vice President Albert Gore Jr. After a brief prologue that suggests Gore's loyalty to President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal will hurt his presidential hopes, Zelnick proceeds with a traditional chronological journey through his subject's life. Although he credits Gore for a variety of accomplishments and personal virtues, the author has come to bury the vice president, not to praise him. Zelnick gleefully repeats every damaging anecdote and allegation: in high school, Gore was twice ejected from football games for unsportsmanlike conduct; in college he smoked marijuana; in Congress, he flip-flopped on tobacco and abortion issues; as vice president he abused the campaign finance laws. At times abandoning all pretense of objectivity, Zelnick labels Gore a "pious moralist," "Orwellian," and "self-aggrandizing"; he claims his subject "sold out the interests of the environmentalists," "purged" from government positions anyone who didn't agree with him (there's an entire chapter devoted to this), and wrote a book about environmental issues (Earth in the Balance, 1994) that is "simplistic" and "utterly brainless." He even suggests that Gore might have done something to prevent the Y2K computer crisis. But when Zelnick accuses Gore of exploiting for political gain the most painful of family tragedies (the death of his sister from smoking-related lung cancer; the severe injuries sustained by his son in an accident), he reveals a core of heartless cynicism that will appeal only to the most zealously partisanreaders. This sawed-off-shotgun style does occasionally hit the mark; Zelnick's account of the 1996 presidential campaign's fund-raising excesses is troubling, even though it targets only Democrats. A hatchet job that would elicit a smile of admiration from Lizzie Borden.
- Regnery Publishing
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.33(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.32(d)
What People are saying about this
Ken BodeIt is always better to know all we can about a presidential candidate before he is elected rather than find out afterward, as the Clinton troubles demonstrate so clearly. Mr. Gore has been on the political scene in Washington for most of his life, most recently an eight years of staged-managed events at the White House. We need to know more, much more. Bob Selnick starts that examination...
!51; Ken Bode, Moderator, PBS' Washington Week in Review
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