Saturday, March 15, 2008

Five best: books about ambition

Novelist, short story writer and playwright Warren Adler tagged five "favorite works about ambition, political and otherwise" for the Wall Street Journal.

One book on the list:
by Edmund Morris
Random House, 1999

Edmund Morris, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for his life of Theodore Roosevelt, was for his next book given unusual access to Ronald Reagan. Morris later admitted that he was baffled by the president, and the result was this somewhat bizarre "biography." Reagan, I believe, was far more nuanced and subtle than the media ever grasped. Although Morris might have glimpsed the power and ambition behind the mask, I suspect that he knew he couldn't quite harvest the man's essence. Thus he attempted to get at the Reagan story in an unusual way, creating a kind of Greek chorus and introducing himself as a fictional character in the narrative. He was naturally excoriated by critics and the Reagan family, but even though "Dutch" may be dubious as a nonfiction work, it is insightful and deeply compelling.
Read about the oldest title on Adler's list.

--Marshal Zeringue