Anyone Can Grow Up
How George Bush and I Made It to the White House
By Margaret Carlson
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781416567981, 320pp.)
Publication Date: December 31, 1999
Margaret Carlson -- widely read Time columnist, regular CNN panelist, political insider, and hostess of A-list but scarcely traditional Washington dinners -- has been commenting on American life for over a decade. In Anyone Can Grow Up, she expands on her writings about presidents, politics, morals, children, family life, and lessons from her own life.
In the section entitled "Presidential Material," Carlson reflects on what it takes to be president by looking at those who choose to pursue the office (and by extension, those, like her, who choose to cover the pursuit). She looks at the hard facts (offices held, speeches given, money raised) and the soft, sometimes determinative, ones (how the candidates talk and look, how they perform under pressure, who they marry and divorce when no one is looking, and how they get into -- and out of -- scrapes). The best man doesn't always win. That's why those who've lost, and those who almost run but don't, are covered as well. Bush Sr. and son, and Clinton in his scandalous term, are here. Carlson also takes a look at those whom have thought of running, like Donald Trump, those who America wanted to run, like Colin Powell, and those who've run and lost, like John McCain.
Carlson draws from her own life in the "Family Matters" section as well, commenting on subjects relating to children, women, and men -- from abortion to balancing work and family, from feminism to sexual harassment.
Finally, in the last section, we read about what makes us who we are and what makes us do what we do. From breaking down how congressmen make money on the side to what cost Newt Gingrich his job, from days in court trying the Menendez brothers to a memorable three-hour lunch with Katharine Hepburn that didn't turn out the way she imagined, Carlson finds the strength of character, or lack of it, in Americans famous and not.
Carlson gets as many as a hundred letters a week from readers who say, "That's exactly what I was thinking." In the vein of Anna Quindlen, Ellen Goodman, and Bill O'Reilly, here is a wise and witty book from a writer who knows what makes us tick.
Margaret Carlson was named a columnist for Time magazine in 1994, making her the first woman columnist in the magazine's seventy-eight-year history. She also serves as a panelist on CNN's political programs Inside Politics and The Capital Gang. She has one daughter and lives in Washington, D.C.
Mary Matalin Reading Anyone Can Grow Up is like hanging out with your best girlfriend -- nonstop kibitzing, laughing, working out common crazies. From everyday parental hysteria and heroics to big-time politics and punditry, Margaret is the special daughter, the hip mother, the loyal friend, and always the girl next door who lives life large in America.
Jim Lehrer Margaret Carlson's essays and commentary have made her one of those 'yes, but what does Margaret think about it?' people we all depend on. With this book she expands her reach to those who enjoy superbly written books.
Alex Kuczynski Margaret Carlson is one of the bravest writers I read, and one of the smartest, gutsiest, morally courageous women I know. This book is part memoir -- we get to see her Rosebud moments when she realized she needed to become a journalist. This is a woman who can thrash presidents and political leaders when they deserve it and write with a heartbreaking poignancy that will give the most cynical reader pause. What a relief that Margaret not only exists, but thrives and inspires.
Dominick Dunne She's smart. She's funny. She's a little mischievous. In Anyone Can Grow Up, Ms. Carlson lets the reader get to know her very well. I was touched by her family, and awed by her rise.
Judy Woodruff Margaret Carlson writes about the real Washington: the human strengths and frailties of those at the top, and those climbing to get there. Her accounts are always fascinating, frequently fun and occasionally distressing. As a bonus, we learn what's at the root of her fearless appraisals: a thoroughly American and poignant childhood that equipped her with zero tolerance for phonies.
Ben Bradlee Margaret Carlson has grown up -- big time. Without losing that sassy twinkle, she has become one of a handful of really informed commentators. She is a blithe spirit with brains and energy and humor.