The Book of the Week is “Rehnquist” by Herman J. Obermayer, published in 2009. This slim volume describes the author’s friendship with the late William Rehnquist, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, appointed by Richard Nixon.
Rehnquist was born in 1924 in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI. During his decades as a justice, he wrote opinions favoring federalism, deregulation and stricter law enforcement. Read the book to learn about his career history, frugality, gambling habits, movie viewing tastes and his last illness.
The Book of the Week is “Act One” by Moss Hart, published in 1959.
In his teen years in the 1920’s, the author had a passionate desire to work in the theater on Broadway in some capacity. However, his childhood of dire poverty, limited formal education and dysfunctional family were hardships he had to overcome to achieve his dream.
It was a major triumph for him to snag the position of office boy for a booking agent by a random twist of fate. However, he tempted fate too early. He then tried his hand at acting. He was an eighteen-year-old playing the role of a sixty-year-old man. When that gig ended, another chance occurrence with an acquaintance led him to directing plays in the evenings, and slaving away as a social director at various summer camps for several years, while plugging away at the part of aspiring playwright.
Read the book to learn all the sordid tribulations Hart endured in order to find fortune and fame, as well as the secret to how he fixed the third act of his first Broadway play, and how he came to be assisted by one of the great playwrights of his generation.
The Book of the Week is “All Too Human” by George Stephanopoulos, published in 1999. This is a personal account of the author’s employment experiences with former president Bill Clinton beginning with Clinton’s 1992 campaign and ending with his own resignation at the end of Clinton’s first term.
The author was a close, trusted advisor of the president. In 1992, the press was engaging in negative, tabloid-like reporting on Clinton’s alleged extramarital affairs and 1969 draft-dodging of the Vietnam War.
Stephanopoulos– who started out in the position of press secretary, then became a consultant– described his 80-hour-a-week job thusly: “Every day was a dozen meetings, a hundred phone calls, a new crisis, another first.” He had to play nice with the press while at the same time, serving as an enabler of image management of the president. The author was continually advising his boss on how he should handle the infinite issues and problems that cropped up daily.
Beginning in 1994, an unwanted interloper by the name of Dick Morris imposed undue influence on the president, that created philosophical and workplace conflict. Morris was pressuring the president to balance the budget on a timetable that would result in broken campaign promises.
By the autumn of 1995, “… the evening news was a chorus of criticism from Democrats, Republicans and independent observers, who all agreed on one point: that the president would say anything to anyone to get his or her support.”
Read the book to learn about the author’s involvement with Clinton’s first-term actions, good and bad, and how Clinton got reelected in 1996.
The Book of the Week is “My Wild World” by Joan Embery With Denise Demong, published in 1980. This is the career memoir of an animal lover and trainer.
The San Diego Zoo was founded in 1916. In the late 1960’s, the author went to work for the Children’s Zoo there. An entry-level position normally involves lots of dirty work.
By early 1970, Embery was a public relations representative for the zoo. She went on numerous TV shows such as “What’s My Line” and “The Steve Allen Show” to promote the animals. One of her signature feats was training Carol the elephant to paint by holding a brush with her trunk.
Training animals is challenging and entertaining, but can also be a frustrating, dangerous business. Lots of behind-the-scenes work goes into simply displaying animals at a zoo; never mind animal shows. Many specialists are involved, including a lawyer (in the United States, of course), veterinarians, pathologists and behaviorists.
In 1969, the San Diego Zoo began to build the Wild Animal Park, a monorail ride for visitors that shows wild animals in their natural habitat. A major issue always associated with animals is finding sufficient space for housing them. The Siberian tiger can weigh as much as 800 lbs, and an elephant gains about 60 lbs a month when it is maturing. Various birth control methods are employed to minimize overbreeding.
In the early 1980’s, a computer database was initiated to the facilitate the exchange of animals among zoological establishments, to foster the reproduction of endangered animals.
Read the book to learn of the author’s experiences working and performing with, and serving as owner of, exotic animals such as pachyderms, reptiles, marsupials, predatory cats, and more.