The Whole Damn Deal
Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics
By Kathryn J. McGarr
(PublicAffairs, Hardcover, 9781586488772, 480pp.)
Publication Date: October 2011
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Robert S. Strauss was for many decades the quintessential Democratic power broker. Born to a poor Jewish family in West Texas, he founded the law firm that became Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, andwhile forever changing the nature of the Washington law firmworked as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, special trade representative, ambassador to the Soviet Union and then Russia, and an advisor to presidents. As former first lady Barbara Bush wrote of Strauss in her memoir: He is absolutely the most amazing politician. He is everybody’s friend and, if he chooses, could sell you the paper off your own wall.”
But it isn’t the positions Strauss held that make his story fascinating; it is what he represented about the culture of Washington in his day. He was a master of the art of knowing everyone who mattered and getting things done. Based on exclusive access to Strauss, The Whole Damn Deal brings to life a vanished epoch of working behind the scenes, political deal making, and successful bipartisanship in Washington.
Kathryn J. McGarr received her BA in history from Stanford University and an MS in journalism from Columbia University where she was awarded the Lynton Fellowship for book writing. Her work has appeared in Politico, among other places.
The Weekly Standard, October 3, 2011
“Kathryn McGarr brings sprightly writing and strong narrative drive to her tale, which represents a valuable contribution to the ledger of Washington life in the waning decades of the 20th century….Throughout his quarter-century on the Washington scene, Strauss clearly was a man of his time and milieu: more powerful than many, more effective than most, and more amusing and heartwarming than just about anybody. He operated in a time that is long gone now, but well worth remembering.”
The Hill, September 17, 2011
“A fascinating and well-written book about one of the most interesting — and, yes, important — figures on the national political landscape in the last third of the 20th century.”
The Washington Examiner
“McGarr has done extensive research, writes gracefully and does not shy away from critical judgments about her subject….This is a fine book which puts into print many facts and stories which might otherwise be lost—an excellent contribution to history.”