304 pages, 3.75 × 2.52 × 0.42 in
September 22, 2009
Crown Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307463729
ISBN - 13: 9780307463722
About the Book
Latimer, a young conservative speechwriter, pens this hilarious yet poignant account of life inside the White House, as he laments a certain kind of principled conservatism that disappeared in the last years of the Bush presidency.
Read from the Book
CHAPTER ONESHINING CITY ON A HILLI guess there's a point in most children's lives when they believe that their hometown is the worst place in the world. Well, those kids can choke on it, because I actually did come from the worst city in America--a fact certified by one of the largest publications in the nation. When I was growing up, Money magazine ranked the major cities in the United States from the perspective of which was the best place to live. My hometown of Flint, Michigan, ranked at the absolute bottom. I must admit, even I was surprised by that. Second to worst, maybe. But the worst of the worst? Wow. The townspeople of Flint made a big show of burning the magazine in effigy, but no one could credibly argue our case.Flint became internationally famous in the documentary Roger and Me, directed by that self-appointed spokesman for working-class outrage and future millionaire Michael Moore. The film chronicled Flint's economic decline after the one company that had been keeping it alive, General Motors, packed up most of their automobiles and sputtered out of town. It wasn't the smoothest departure the world had ever seen. Basically, the company broke up with Flint by e-mail and then changed its phone number.I was born in the heart of the city to two liberal teachers. My dad, Maurice, was born while the country was still reeling from the Great Depression, and he was the first boy in his family to go to college. He had thick jet-black hair and looked vaguely like Ricky
From the Publisher
From a top speechwriter to President George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, this may be the most deliciously candid memoir ever written about official Washington—a laugh-out-loud cri de coeur that shows what can happen to idealism in a town driven by self-interest.
Despite being raised by reliably liberal parents, Matt Latimer is, from an early age, lured by the upbeat themes of the Reagan Revolution and, in the tradition of Mary Tyler Moore, sets off from the Midwest for the big city, determined to "make it after all." In Matt's glory-filled daydreams, he will champion smaller government and greater self-sufficiency, lower taxes and stronger defense—and, by the force of his youthful passion, eradicate do-nothing boondoggleism and lead America to new heights of greatness.
But first he has to find a job.
Like an inside-the-Beltway Dante, Matt chronicles his descent into Washington, D.C., hell, as he snares a series of increasingly lofty—but unsatisfying—jobs with powerful figures on Capitol Hill. One boss can't remember basic facts. Another appears to hide from his own staff, barricading himself in his office. When Fate offers Matt a job as chief speechwriter for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Matt finds he actually admires the man (causing his liberal friends to shake their heads in dismay), his youthful passion is renewed. But Rummy soon becomes a piñata for the press, and the Department of Defense is revealed as alarmingly dysfunctional.
Eventually, Matt lands at the White House, his heart aflutter with the hope that, here at last, he can fulfill his dream of penning words that will become part of history—and maybe pick up some cool souvenirs. But reality intrudes once again. More like The Office than The West Wing, the nation's most storied office building is a place where the staffers who run the country are in way over their heads, and almost everything the public has been told about the major players—Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Rove—is wrong.
Both a rare behind-the-scenes account that boldly names the fools and scoundrels, and a poignant lament for the principled conservatism that disappeared during the Bush presidency, Speech-less will forever change the public's view of our nation's capital and the people who joust daily for its power.
From the Jacket
Bipartisan Praise for SPEECH-LESS
"If P.G. Wodehouse had gone to Washington and worked for senators, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George Bush, this is the book he would have written. Matt Latimer's hilarious account reads like political satire, except it's all true…Latimer's description of government bureaucracy should be framed and placed in every government office. Others have written well on 'what it takes' to get to the White House, Speech-less nails the awful, bizarrely riveting comedy of what it's like when you get there. Although the general plotline is: Exuberant young conservative goes to Washington, becomes disillusioned, leaves the political world forever -- I think Latimer will have to keep one foot in politics, if only for the material."
"The best fly-on-the-wall account yet of life in the beleaguered Bush administration. Hilarious, hair-raising and full of inside detail... Latimer delivers a lively, enormously absorbing story of an idealistic young conservative on a collision course with reality. He is our Holden Caulfield among All the Kings Men."
—Wayne Slater, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Bush's Brain
"Wonderful…offers readers a glimpse of a world they never see, and gives Republicans in particular a lot to think about if they ever hope to reclaim power…Even more than the messages this book conveys, at its heart this is a compelling story about idols who sometimes disappoint you, unlikely heroes who surprise you, and dreams that don't always turn out the way you hope they will."
—Stephen F. Hayes, Senior Writer, The Weekly Standard and Fox News contributor
"What The Devil Wears Prada did for the fashion set, Latimer does for Washington with this insider's look at the world's most disappointing city, and the people who make it fail… If you want to know what makes our nation's capital a self-inflicted disaster, read this book."
—Stephen Dinan, White House Bureau Chief, The Washington Times
"A ground-level, laugh-out-loud chronicle of government ineptitude…Top administration figures – and Bush himself – may not have noticed that this witty and increasingly skeptical young man was taking due note of the blundering, but history will remember and value the story he tells."
—Ryan Grim, Senior Congressional Correspondent, The Huffington Post
"Lots of people write accounts of their time at the White House. Virtually no one has done it as well as Matt Latimer. This book is excellent: funny, sensible, informative, interesting as hell, and beautifully written. If only there had been more Matt Latimers in the Bush administration."
—Tucker Carlson, Fox News analyst and former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire"
About the Author
MATT LATIMER was one of President Bush's top speechwriters from March 2007 to October 2008. He was also chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for three years.
LEADING CONSERVATIVES PRAISE LATIMER'S SPEECH-LESSNew Book by Former Bush Administration Writer Hailed by Right "Probably the most important political book of the year… [Matt is] one heck of a great conservative. It seems to me [it is] getting a very good reaction from conservatives around the country… The last time I read a book that was this funny was Christopher Buckley's White House Mess." Jed Babbin, Editor, Human Events "Latimer comes across as honest...He's a deft writer, and has a good eye and a nice turn of phrase. You may find yourself surprised by what he has to report. I was. ... Let me simply admit that I was darned entertained by Speech-less...Latimer's contribution to the [White House memoir] shelf is welcome and worthy."--Christopher Buckley, bestselling writer and commentator"It's a good read… quite frankly, the stories are funny!"Pat Buchanan, MSNBC news analyst and contributor "Lots of people write accounts of their time at the White House. Virtually no one has done it as well... This book is excellent: funny, sensible, informative, interesting as hell, and beautifully written. If only there had been more Matt Latimers in the Bush administration."Tucker Carlson, Fox News analyst, former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire" "Matt Latimer's hilarious account reads like political satire, except it's all true…Latimer's description of government bureaucracy should be framed and placed in every government office… completely accurate and completely hilarious."Ann Co