Friday, April 25, 2008

Robert Schlesinger

From a Q & A with Robert Schlesinger about his new book, White House Ghosts.

Q: What inspired this book?

A: My father, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., was a member of the Judson Welliver Society of former presidential speechwriters. He brought me as a guest to many of their dinner meetings where current and former speechwriters would trade stories of their White House experiences. After enjoying a half-dozen or more of these evenings over the years, the thought popped into my head: "Someone should write these stories down." Little did I realize the project would become so much more than a collection of stories, that it would grow to include tens of thousands of pages of archival documents, scores of hours of interviews, and secondary source materials, providing a unique glimpse of the modern presidents.

Q: How important are speechwriters to the success or failure of a presidency?

A: No modern president can be successful without an appreciation of the importance of communication and public education. And no president has the time to write his or her own speeches. The best presidents have a strong sense of when and how to communicate with the public -- and know how to use speechwriters to best achieve that goal.
Read the full Q & A.

Visit the White House Ghosts website.

The Page 99 Test: White House Ghosts.

--Marshal Zeringue