Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Historians to Cheney

Randall Stephens

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney has just signed a deal for his memoirs, reportedly worth around $2 million," write the editors of the New York Times. The Gray Lady asks a number of historians for advice to Cheney. The following weigh in: Joseph J. Ellis, Richard Reeves, Jean Baker, David Levering Lewis, Alonzo L. Hamby, Kathleen Dalton, Mary Stuckey, Robert Dallek, and H.W. Brands. "What advice exists," the NYT asks, "for a political memoirist who wants the work to last, given common pitfalls like self-justification, self-aggrandizement, vagueness and boring inside-baseball detail?"

"I would say that Grant’s presidential memoir is the best of the genre, unparalleled to date," writes David Levering Lewis. "And I’d also single out the Georgia coming-of-age remembrance by Jimmy Carter. As for the historical value of Cheney’s and Rice’s memoirs, I’d not expect much gain for the record of the republic."

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