Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times
Author: Willie Brown
To The Washington Post, he's "The Last Political Showman of the 20th Century."
Bill Clinton has called him "the real Slick Willie."
Ronald Reagan's secretary of state George Shultz called this famously liberal politician "a man of his word" and endorsed his successful candidacy for mayor of San Francisco.
Indeed Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both called upon him for advice and help. He is Willie L. Brown, Jr., and he knows how to get things done in politics, how to work both sides of the aisle to get results. Compared to him, Machiavelli looks meek. And drab.
In Basic Brown, this product of rural, segregated Texas and the urban black neighborhoods of San Francisco tells how he rose through the civil rights movement to become the most potent black politician in America through his shrewd understanding and use of political power and political money. He adapts the lessons he has learned so they can be used by anyone -- black, female, male -- intent on acquiring political power.
And this master of the political deal demonstrates why deals are not enough, and that political power grows only when public good is being done. Willie Brown shows how some of the most far-reaching and socially advanced legislation in American history -- like gun control, legalized abortion, gay rights, and school funding -- was carried out under his guidance and on his watch, and tells of the ingenuity, the political machinations, and the personal perseverance that were required to enact what now seems to many to be obvious legislation. These are stories of breathtaking, sometimes hilarious ruses and gambits that show that even the most high-minded legislation needsthe assistance of the skills of a shark, which is what Willie Brown often sees himself as.
Basic Brown is a compendium of insights and stories on the real forces governing power in American political life that will leave you looking at politics anew. It is also the inspiring and funny story of the rise of a gawky teenager in mail-order shoes and trousers who rose to entertain royalty and schoolchildren, superstars and supersize egos, the saintly and the scholarly, while working to transform and open American politics. If you ever wanted to learn how to be slick, a shark, a do-gooder, and a man of your word, Willie L. Brown, Jr., is the storyteller for you.
The Washington Post - Ron Fimrite
…[an] engaging autobiography…[Brown's] roguish ways are reminiscent of such other flashy mayors as Marion Barry of Washington and Jimmy Walker of New York. Like them, he makes no pretense of piety. But unlike them, he's never run afoul of the law. He has so nimbly crossed racial barriers that he stands as something of a pioneer, and yet he has demonstrated no particular desire to be remembered as an African American leader. Indeed, many of his closest friends are white. So let's just say this man is one of a kind, and be done with it.
The New York Times - Matt Bai
Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times is less Brown's memoir than a West Coast version of Machiavelli's Prince, a seminar for young politicians by a master of the craft…in this charming memoir by a charming man, exaggeration is part of the fun. The book roughly approximates the experience of sitting across from Willie Brown over a long breakfast, refilling one's coffee as he works his way through the tall tales and tangents that made him one of the great machinators of his age. Like the man himself, Brown's version of the political memoir is always engaging, sometimes confounding and never the least bit slow.
Brown, "[b]lack, urban, flamboyant, politically adroit," is part hardworking politician and part legend. "A political career [had] never entered [his] mind," when the teenaged Texas country boy arrived in San Francisco in 1951. Thirty years later, Brown became Speaker of the California Assembly, a triply historic event: he won with bipartisan support, was the first African-American to do so and served longer than any else in the position; then from 1996 to 2003, he was San Francisco's mayor. Brown's autobiography is a candid and fascinating how-to-succeed-in-politics, crammed with down-to-earth reality tips not common in civics texts. He advises how to dress, work a party and manage one's own scandals. But Brown did not achieve political power by merely window dressing and shares his mastery of the finer and lesser points of political strategy. He revisits the major controversies of his reign in the assembly and the successes of which he is most proud. "The real Slick Willie," Clinton called him; Brown says simply, "I'm unique." His always lively and often self-serving account is a candid tutorial for aspiring politicians and ordinary folk who enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how local (and sometimes national) government works. Illus. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Ann Burns - Library Journal
Once labeled "the real Slick Willie" by Bill Clinton, Brown, now heading his own Institute on Politics and Public Service, served 30 years in the California State Assembly and in 1996 became the first African American mayor of San Francisco. Here, he offers anecdotes of his days as a politician along with some piercing commentary on the 2008 elections.
The legendary California politician and power broker struts his stuff. A credentials battle and an electrifying speech to the 1972 National Democratic Convention shone the national spotlight on Brown, and he's warmed himself in its glow ever since. As the first African-American and longest-tenured speaker of the California Assembly and as two-term mayor of San Francisco, he displayed all the talents common to political genius: He was a charismatic speaker, a prodigious fundraiser and a consummate insider who mastered the rules of any office he held and never lost the common touch. He fought successfully against limitations imposed by the white community by never styling himself as merely a minority spokesman. Brown operated with a panache normally associated with big-city mayors from a bygone era. Like New York's Jimmy Walker and Boston's James Michael Curley, he was famed as a clotheshorse, a gourmand, a showman (he had a cameo in The Godfather: Part III), an inveterate partygoer, table-hopper and ladies' man, despite his 50-year marriage. His altogether unique style inspired his supporters and confounded his enemies. Convinced that anyone so powerful had to be corrupt, the FBI tried unsuccessfully for years to get something on him. Even after finally achieving a majority in the Assembly, Republicans proved unable to oust him as speaker. Brown retells with relish his political battles, including his efforts to restore San Francisco's City Hall, and drops allusions to giants of California politics, including former Speaker Jesse Unruh, former SF Mayor George Moscone, congresswoman Maxine Waters, gay-rights activist Harvey Milk and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Herb Caen. His memoirincludes just enough biographical information about his modest origins to place his spectacular career in impressive relief. The scattershot narrative, breakneck gallop through topics large and small, seductive name-dropping and, above all, Brown's impregnable self-confidence add up to what feels like a genuine encounter with an unforgettable character.
Triumph and Tragedy, Vol. 6
Author: Winston S Churchill
From the Allied landings in Normandy in June 1944 the Second World War had only fourteen months to run. This final volume of the account covers events right up to the unconditional surrender of Japan.
The New Yorker
Churchill is artist enough to realize that these huge final chords must be simple. He gives us a magnificently muted close.
Table of Contents:
|Book I||The Tide of Victory|
|Chapter I||D Day||3|
|Chapter II||Normandy to Paris||15|
|Chapter III||The Pilotless Bombardment||34|
|Chapter IV||Attack on the South of France?||50|
|Chapter V||Balkan Convulsions. The Russian Victories||63|
|Chapter VI||Italy and the Riviera Landing||75|
|Chapter VII||Rome. The Greek Problem||92|
|Chapter VIII||Alexander's Summer Offensive||104|
|Chapter IX||The Martyrdom of Warsaw||113|
|Chapter X||The Second Quebec Conference||129|
|Chapter XI||Advance in Burma||143|
|Chapter XII||The Battle of Leyte Gulf||153|
|Chapter XIII||The Liberation of Western Europe||165|
|Chapter XIV||Prelude to a Moscow Visit||180|
|Chapter XV||October in Moscow||197|
|Chapter XVII||Counter-stroke in the Ardennes||229|
|Chapter XVIII||British Intervention in Greece||247|
|Chapter XIX||Christmas at Athens||267|
|Book II||The Iron Curtain|
|Chapter XX||Preparations for a New Conference||287|
|Chapter XXI||Yalta: Plans for World Peace||302|
|Chapter XXII||Russia and Poland: The Soviet Promise||319|
|Chapter XXIII||Yalta: Finale||340|
|Chapter XXIV||Crossing the Rhine||353|
|Chapter XXV||The Polish Dispute||367|
|Chapter XXVI||Soviet Suspicions||386|
|Chapter XXVII||Western Strategic Divergences||399|
|Chapter XXVIII||The Climax: Roosevelt's Death||412|
|Chapter XXIX||Growing Friction with Russia||424|
|Chapter XXX||The Final Advance||440|
|Chapter XXXI||Alexander's Victory in Italy||454|
|Chapter XXXII||The German Surrender||463|
|Chapter XXXIII||An Uneasy Interlude||480|
|Chapter XXXIV||The Chasm Opens||495|
|Chapter XXXV||The End of the Coalition||508|
|Chapter XXXVI||A Fateful Decision||520|
|Chapter XXXVII||The Defeat of Japan||532|
|Chapter XXXVIII||Potsdam: The Atomic Bomb||545|
|Chapter XXXIX||Potsdam: The Polish Frontiers||560|
|Chapter XL||The End of My Account||578|
|A.||List of Abbreviations||587|
|B.||List of Code-Names||588|
|C.||Prime Minister's Directives, Personal Minutes, and Telegrams, June 1944-July 1945||589|
|D.||The Attack on the South of France||656|
|E.||Monthly Totals of Shipping Losses, British, Allied, and Neutral, June 1944-August 1945||665|
|F.||Prime Minister's Victory Broadcast, May 13, 1945||666|
|G.||The Battle of the Atlantic: Merchant Ships Sunk by U-boat: The Last Phase||674|
|H.||Ministerial Appointments, June 1944-May 1945||675|
|Maps and Diagrams|
|Operations on the Russian Front, June 1944-January 1945||73|
|Burma, July 1944-January 1945||151|
|Battle for Leyte Gulf, Philippines: Approach and Contact, October 22-24, 1944||158|
|Battle for Leyte Gulf: The Decisive Phase, October 25, 1944||160|
|Battle for Leyte Gulf: The Pursuit, October 26-27, 1944||162|
|The South-West Pacific||163|
|The Gothic Line||193|
|The Frontier Regions||232|
|Crossing the Rhine||355|
|The Northern Crossing||358|
|Occupation Zones in Germany, as Agreed at Quebec, September 1944||438|
|The Invasion of Germany||454|
|The Battle of the River Po||457|
|Merchant Vessel Losses by U-boat, January 1940-April 1945||473|
|The Withdrawal of the Western Allies, July 1945||526|
|The Last Phase in the Pacific War||542|
|Occupation Zones in Germany and Austria, as Finally Adopted, July 1945||566|
|The Frontiers of Central Europe||678|