The Good Fight
The Good Fight
Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399154997, 304pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2008
One of the remarkable books of this season-- a tough, plainspoken, deeply passionate narrative by one of our most important national figures.
We all know them: politicians' books that read as if they've been cobbled together from old speeches. The Good Fight is as far from that as it is possible to get.
In a voice that is flinty, real, and passion-filled, Senator Harry Reid tells the tale of two places, intertwining his own story, particularly his early life of deep poverty in the tiny mining town of Searchlight, Nevada--"a place that boasted of thirteen brothels and no churches"--with the cautionary tale of Washington, D.C.: "If I can do nothing greater in this book than explain those two places to each other, then I will have done something important."
Reid is inspired by obstacles. Brought up in a cabin without indoor plumbing, he hitchhiked forty-five miles across open desert to high school. He worked full-time as a Capitol Hill policeman to get through law school, after the school refused him financial aid, telling him he wasn't cut out to be a lawyer. As head of the Nevada Gaming Commission, he led an unrelenting fight to clean up Las Vegas, despite four years of death threats --and much worse. And in Congress, Reid's spent more than twenty-five years battling those who would take the country in the wrong direction: "The radical ideologues degrade our government, so much so that when they are in charge of it, they do not know how to run it."
And, always, it all comes back to Searchlight: "Who I am now, and what I am doing now, began in that town, with those people, in those mines." This book is the story of a man who knows what a good fight is, because he has had to fight like hell for everything his whole life. It is populated by a rich and raucous cast of great and failed men, eccentrics, visionaries, gangsters, and presidents who make up his life and times. And it is for all those who not only like a good story, but wonder what we should do now in America.