This author appeared at the 2011 festival. Please view the list of authors appearing at this year's festival or see our suggestions for similar authors below.
As Kathryn McGarr reveals in The Whole Damn Deal: Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics, Robert Strauss created an archetype. He was the big talker, the power broker, the guy who knew everybody and got things done. Strauss was born in the small town of Lockhart, Texas, to an immigrant couple known locally for their kindness and industry. In spite of poverty and their provincial surroundings, Strauss’s parents instilled in him the virtues of culture and intellect. With a bit of luck, and a lot of words and handshakes, Strauss would soon launch himself into the national spotlight. He founded the law firm that became Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, and maintained a dizzying number of political partnerships while working as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. His strength as a special trade representative, ambassador to the Soviet Union, and presidential advisor came from his amicable personality and drive; his was “the art of making things happen instead of just tilting at windmills.” In today’s political sphere, Congressmen tweet their gripes about legislation and email dirty photos to their mistresses, but during Strauss’ time, an era of less fraught and polarized politics, he was a mover and shaker who took his job, his personal integrity, and the esteem of his colleagues very seriously. Journalist Kathryn J. McGarr is the great-niece of Robert Strauss, and her exclusive access to the man makes The Whole Damn Deal a truly inspired look at the power of personality.
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