[Strother] has made some brilliantly successful commercials, a very good living and now a memoir whose ultimate message is that helping someone get elected does not mean you should help the winner govern. In a parody of the style of Morris and Rove helping the ''consultant-dependent'' presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Strother imagines the modern-day consultant ''advising Abraham Lincoln that it would be good politics to punish the South after the war. It polls well, the consultant might have said. After all, Mr. President, it's not too early to begin planning for 1868.'' — Adam Clymer
Strother, who is now president of Strother, Duffy, Strother, with offices on K Street's Gucci Gulch, appears to be a reputable man in a business for which other adjectives too often would be more appropriate. This at least is the impression given by Falling Up, Strother's memoir of his life in politics and his inside-baseball examination of the world of the political consultant. Now in his early sixties, he has been president of the American Association of Political Consultants -- which in the late 1990s "began a dialogue on ethics and education that is at least exerting peer pressure" -- and a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard. — Jonathan Yardley
Strother was one of the first modern political consultants: he started driving Louisiana candidates and eventually specialized in precisely crafted radio and TV ads. His memoir is filled with wild and woolly stories in which bordello-owning sheriffs and country music bands are a regular fixture on the campaign trail. It also delves into the highly successful period in the early 1980s when a run of victorious Democratic senatorial campaigns culminated in Strother joining Gary Hart's frenetic, and doomed, 1984 presidential run. (There's also a suggestion that he might have prevented the Donna Rice incident.) He gave James Carville one of his first political jobs and crossed paths several times with Dick Morris, whose significance as a consultant he admits despite his conviction that the man represents "everything that has gone wrong with American politics." Bill Clinton also comes under fire; Strother accuses him of "adding my body to those he climbed over to reach the White House" by using his services for several Arkansas campaigns, then dumping him for flashier competitors. The accusation is typical of the book's unblinkered view; after publishing a thinly disguised roman clef, Cottonwood, in the 1990s, Strother holds nothing back this time. He gives full vent to his anger over prejudice against his Southern background, his disgust with the corruption of Louisiana politics and his "Darwinist, ferocious" approach to his profession. Although Strother's political prestige would be enough to guarantee his memoir's importance, his unflinching recollections raise the book to a even higher level of significance. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.