Let the People in

Let the People in Cover

Let the People in

The Life and Times of Ann Richards

By Jan Reid

University of Texas Press, Hardcover, 9780292719644, 467pp.

Publication Date: October 3, 2012

Description

Winner, Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize, Texas State Historical Association, 2012Liz Carpenter Award for Research in the History of Women, Texas State Historical Association, 2012

When Ann Richards delivered the keynote of the 1988 Democratic National Convention and mocked President George H. W. Bush "Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth" she instantly became a media celebrity and triggered a rivalry that would alter the course of American history. In 1990, Richards won the governorship of Texas, upsetting the GOP's colorful rancher and oilman Clayton Williams. The first ardent feminist elected to high office in America, she opened up public service to women, blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, gays, and the disabled. Her progressive achievements and the force of her personality created a lasting legacy that far transcends her rise and fall as governor of Texas.

In Let the People In, Jan Reid draws on his long friendship with Richards, interviews with her family and many of her closest associates, her unpublished correspondence with longtime companion Bud Shrake, and extensive research to tell a very personal, human story of Ann Richards's remarkable rise to power as a liberal Democrat in a conservative Republican state. Reid traces the whole arc of Richards's life, beginning with her youth in Waco, her marriage to attorney David Richards, her frustration and boredom with being a young housewife and mother in Dallas, and her shocking encounters with Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. He follows Richards to Austin and the wild 1970s scene and describes her painful but successful struggle against alcoholism. He tells the full, inside story of Richards's rise from county office and the state treasurer's office to the governorship, where she championed gun control, prison reform, environmental protection, and school finance reform, and he explains why she lost her reelection bid to George W. Bush, which evened his family's score and launched him toward the presidency. Reid describes Richards's final years as a world traveler, lobbyist, public speaker, and mentor and inspiration to office holders, including Hillary Clinton. His nuanced portrait reveals a complex woman who battled her own frailties and a good-old-boy establishment to claim a place on the national political stage and prove "what can happen in government if we simply open the doors and let the people in.



About the Author
A sixth generation Australian, Jan Reid's early years were not unlike many others born in the 1960's growing up on a wheat and sheep property in Central West, New South Wales. After the sun went down, almost every night she would be found reading a book, and under the bed covers with a torch when the lights were turned off. In 2009 Jan became a freelance writer, in 2011 a Kindle book author, and in 2013 she completed the Diploma of Professional Writing - Novel Writing and Publishing, with High Distinction. In March 2014, she completed her first novel (Deep Water Tears), and in November 2014, her second novel (Grace), during the National Novel Writing Month challenge (NaNoWriMo). She is currently planning her third novel to complete: The Dreaming Series. Jan is still an avid reader although she no longer needs to hide under the bed covers with a torch. When she is not writing or reading, she puts on her walking shoes and takes off on one of her many favourite walking tracks, savouring the beauty and tranquillity of the South Coast area of New South Wales.