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Tension City

Inside the Presidential Debates

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Paperback published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book

With an update by the author for the 2012 election
 
A veteran newsman who has presided over eleven presidential and vice-presidential debates, Jim Lehrer gives readers a ringside seat for some of the epic political battles of our time, shedding light on all of the critical turning points and rhetorical faux pas that helped determine the outcome of America’s presidential elections. Drawing on his own experiences as “the man in the middle seat,” in-depth interviews with the candidates and his fellow moderators, and transcripts of key exchanges, Lehrer illuminates what he calls the “Major Moments” and “killer questions” that defined the debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain. In this paperback edition, he also offers his expert analysis of the 2012 Republican primary debates.
 
Asked to sum up his experience as a participant in high-level televised debates, President George H. W. Bush memorably likened them to an evening in “tension city.” In Jim Lehrer’s absorbing account, we find out that truer words were never spoken.
 
“A brisk and engaging memoir.”—The Washington Post
 
“Enthralling . . . remarkable . . . a wonderful political memoir.”—Bookreporter
 
“A really good read . . . [There is] no debating quality of Jim Lehrer’s book.”—Associated Press
 
“Jim Lehrer is a national monument, and this riveting book shows how he became America’s moderator.”—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage
 
“A political junkie’s backstage pass.”—The Capital Times

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With an update by the author for the 2012 election
 
A veteran newsman who has presided over eleven presidential and vice-presidential debates, Jim Lehrer gives readers a ringside seat for some of the epic political battles of our time, shedding light on all of the critical turning points and rhetorical faux pas that helped determine the outcome of America’s presidential elections. Drawing on his own experiences as “the man in the middle seat,” in-depth interviews with the candidates and his fellow moderators, and transcripts of key exchanges, Lehrer illuminates what he calls the “Major Moments” and “killer questions” that defined the debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain. In this paperback edition, he also offers his expert analysis of the 2012 Republican primary debates.
 
Asked to sum up his experience as a participant in high-level televised debates, President George H. W. Bush memorably likened them to an evening in “tension city.” In Jim Lehrer’s absorbing account, we find out that truer words were never spoken.
 
“A brisk and engaging memoir.”—The Washington Post
 
“Enthralling . . . remarkable . . . a wonderful political memoir.”—Bookreporter
 
“A really good read . . . [There is] no debating quality of Jim Lehrer’s book.”—Associated Press
 
“Jim Lehrer is a national monument, and this riveting book shows how he became America’s moderator.”—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage
 
“A political junkie’s backstage pass.”—The Capital Times

Product Details
Paperback (240 pages)
Published: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780812981438
Other books byJim Lehrer
  • The Special Prisoner

    The Special Prisoner
    John Quincy Watson was a young bomber pilot flying the new B-29 Superfortress in a mission over Japan when he was shot down and taken prisoner. Designated a "special prisoner," as were all Allied airmen, he, along with his comrades, suffered and almost indescribably brutal POW experience under a vicious camp commandant that Watson, with his friends, dubs the "the Hyena." When a chance encounter years after the war brings Watson, now Bishop Watson, into contact with a man he believes to be the Hyena, the Bishop must struggle with an anger and a desire for vengeance he thought he had long put aside. The Special Prisoner is a taut and dramatic novel.

    Last Debate

    Last Debate
    It is the night of the presidential debate. The election is eight days away. Republican nominees James Meredith, a fundamentalist Christian whose ambitions border on white supremacy, is pitted against four reporters who have just discovered damaging information that could ruin his career. What unfolds during The Last Debate will change the course of electoral politics and the news business forever…. As "the ultimate insider-outsider" (Washington Post), and as a moderator of presidential debates past and present, journalist and PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer knows the world he writes about only too well. His novel—a satirical and absorbing story of the behind-the-scenes world of news journalism—also exposes the duplicitous posing and posturing of made-for-TV political events. And with the 2000 elections looming ahead, the targets of his satire—religious fundamentalists, self-important journalists, feral network programming heads—could not be more timely.

    Purple Dots

    Purple Dots
    A Novel
    Charles Avenue Henderson claims to want nothing more than to relax in rural West Virginia with his beloved wife Mary Jane and live the genteel life of a successful bed-and-breakfast proprietor. But readers of Lehrer's Blue Hearts will know that Henderson can turn at the drop of a hat from the lovely dinners of Rappahannock oysters with sweet potatoes allumettes to his old tricks as a CIA agent whenever he or someone he cares about is in trouble. In Purple Dots, it is Henderson's longtime friend and CIA protege Joshua Bennett who is threatened by a group of senators seeking to derail his nomination as director of the CIA. Purple Dots is both a page turning thriller and something of a spoof of the thriller genre. Henderson, our hero, gathers together all of his retired CIA friends in order to launch a counteroffensive against the senators and their efforts are sometimes ridiculously over the top. As with Blue Hearts and the Last Debate, Lehrer takes the reader on another tour of Washington with all of its vanities and local curiosities exposed. And the search for the famous and mysterious purple dot, the ultimate Washington perk, continues....

    Eureka

    Eureka
    A Novel
    Ever reliable and responsible, Otis Halstead is a father, a husband (one half of a “well-dressed couple of substance”), and the CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. He has never done anything out of the ordinary. Until now. The change in Otis starts with the acquisition of an antique toy fire truck, the exact model he had pined for at age ten but never received. Next comes a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. But Otis’s real coup is the purchase of his one true childhood passion: a red 1952 Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter. For his baffled wife, Sally, this is the final straw. She insists that he see a shrink. But when tragedy strikes uncomfortably close to home, Otis decides he wants out of his sensible, safe life in Eureka, Kansas. And so, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday, Otis leaves town, heading west on old U.S. 56, a corporate CEO riding a forty-year-old motor scooter with a BB gun strapped to the side. One might say he was in for an adventure. Otis would say he was finally about to experience life.

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