Our friends at the Claremont Institute have enlisted a formidable array of lovers of wisdom to recommend books new and old as gifts to friends and family or to ourselves in the spirit of the season. Leading off the powerhouse lineup is the great Michael Barone.
To seize on one example of a book that I had never even heard of before but that sounds like must reading for the politically inclined, attend to the recommendation of Rhodes College’s Professor Michael Nelson:
I moved to Tennessee on January 16, 1979, four days before Lamar Alexander, the state’s newly elected Republican governor, was constitutionally scheduled to be inaugurated. Just before noon the next day, Alexander received a phone call from the U.S. attorney, informing him that the FBI was convinced the outgoing governor, Democrat Ray Blanton, planned to spend his last few days in office selling pardons to violent criminals in the state prisons. Alexander called the Democratic leaders of the state legislature as well as the chief justice of the state supreme court and the state attorney general, also Democrats, and with their public support, was inaugurated at 5:56 that night on live local television. Watching all this as a newcomer, my reaction was: what an, uh, interesting state. The story of Alexander’s early inauguration—the only one of its kind in American history—is told with page-turning intensity in former Nashville Tennessean reporter and Alexander campaign aide Keel Hunt’s Coup: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Republican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal.
Bipartisanship you can believe in!