Holding nothing back…

Interesting book…

Posted on: February 12, 2008

Went to Half Price Books the other day and saw this book on the shelf.  Picked it up because I’ve become more interested in the inner workings of our government over the past 8 years (give or take) with all the pure-d crap going on in our government with a certain wanna-be-Texas-good-ol’-boy in the executive office…  Saw the quotes from Nixon and Clinton on the back, laughed my butt off and decided that I had to have the book.

The chapter on FDR was really quite interesting.  Very little humor in it, but still quite interesting to read the actual word-for-word conversations that were held in the Oval Office about the Depression, New Deal, and WW1.  FDR was the first president to install and use recording equipment in the Oval Office, and he didn’t always inform those he was talking with that they were being recorded.  Executive privelidge, I say.  I mean, the president is in a unique position and is, or at least was before the advent of all the modern recording equipment we have available today, often in a position to be misquoted very much to his detriment.  I can definitely understand why FDR would think it prudent to have the Oval Office literally wired for sound!

Truman didn’t use the recording equipment much.  There are a couple of instances where Oval Office conversations were recorded, but at least one of them was a test, and Truman had a stenographer present for most official Oval Office conversations.  With the stenographer, there are still word-for-word records of the Oval Office conversations but I can well imagine that it just isn’t the same as hearing the vocal inflections like one would on a tape.

I just started the chapter on Eisenhower, but for some odd reason, I don’t expect to be as interested in it as I will be the tapes from Nixon on.  Those are the presidents from *MY* lifetime and I’m sure that just because I have some memories, however vague, that I’ll find those transcripts more interesting.

So far it’s been really interesting reading, despite my not having any memories from the eras I’ve read about so far.  Just the history of reading the real words the presidents in question said…  It’s amazing.  And Mr. Doyle does a really good job of giving the circumstances surrounding the conversations you are reading, as well as giving you an idea of the vocal inflection that he hears in the tapes.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes discussions that shaped our country over the past 6 decades or so.



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