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Safire, now 78 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner in 2006, describes this dictionary as a lifelong work-it was first published 40 years ago. A self-described "libertarian conservative" who was a speechwriter in the Nixon White House, Safire has labored diligently to create a bipartisan work covering the language of politics. Because it deals with the "specialized world of words," the book is neither a standard dictionary of government nor a traditional source for definitions of political science terminology; works like David Robertson's A Dictionary of Modern Politics(Routledge, 2007) or Jack C. Plano and Milton Greenberg's The American Political Dictionary(Harcourt, 2002; 11th ed.) are better suited to those roles. Entries in this fifth edition cover such phrases as Reagan's "evil empire," George W. Bush's "axis of evil," and Bill Clinton's "what the meaning of 'is' is." Also covered are "depth polling," "nattering nabobs of negativism," "policy wonk," "scorched earth," and "thought police." The WorldCat record for the fourth edition (published in 1993) indicates 1,359 library holdings, representing a diverse group of public and academic sites. This record represents a strong vote of confidence for the work of a writer who has established a national reputation through political columns appearing in hundreds of newspapers.
—Graham R. Walden