The Speechwriter

The Speechwriter Cover

The Speechwriter

A Brief Education in Politics

By Barton Swaim

Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781476769929, 224pp.

Publication Date: July 14, 2015

An intimate and hilarious look inside the spin room of the modern politician: a place where ideals are crushed, English is mangled, people are humiliated, and the opportunity for humor is everywhere.
Everyone knows this kind of politician: a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn t have to live by the rules. Through his own experience as the speechwriter for a controversial governor, Barton Swaim tells the story of a band of believers who attach themselves to this sort of ambitious narcissist and what happens when it all comes crashing down.
"The Speechwriter" is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he d rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he d wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he d belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized to his staff for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. On the surface, this is the story of one politician's rise and fall. But in the end, it's a story about us the very real people who want to believe in our leaders and must learn to survive with broken hearts.

About the Author
Barton Swaim, a native South Carolinian, attended the University of South Carolina and the University of Edinburgh. From 2007 to 2010 he worked for Mark Sanford, South Carolina s governor, as a communications officer and speechwriter. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife, Laura, and three daughters, and writes regularly for "The Wall Street Journal" and "The Times Literary Supplement". "The Speechwriter" is his first book.