Fat Man in a Middle Seat: Forty Years of Covering Politics

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9780375758676: Fat Man in a Middle Seat: Forty Years of Covering Politics

For more than forty years, Jack Germond enjoyed an extraordinary career in political reporting. With his trademark no-nonsense style and tremendous wit in abundance, Fat Man in a Middle Seat remembers the personalities that dominated national politics during Germond’s career: Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Germond writes about the real stuff of politics and captures the details of the reporter’s life on the road—the off-the-record briefings and strategy sessions, countless late nights in bars, and overcrowded Friday-night standby flights. In the words of Tim Russert, this is “quintessential Germond—candid, insightful, and irreverent.”

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Review:

It's impossible not to like Jack W. Germond, the veteran journalist who became a household name for political junkies during his 15 years on The McLaughlin Group. He's a reporter's reporter, the kind of fellow who knows that for every good story "you spend two or three rainy Friday nights at the airport in Atlanta trying to fly standby and ending up as the fat man in the middle seat." Germond cut his teeth at a small newspaper in Michigan, where he began to master his trade: "Once you learned to deal with Carlos Gastambide, the business agent for the largest UAW local at the Monroe Auto Equipment Company, you would not likely be intimidated again by any source at any level, up to and including the White House." He later rubbed elbows with some of the best-known journalists of his generation, and his memoir contains plenty of anecdotes about these colleagues (David Broder, Tom Brokaw, Robert Novak) as well as the people they covered. His chapter on The McLaughlin Group, which he abruptly quit in 1996, is a real highlight, revealing both his disdain for television's "lowest common denominator" programming and the medium's awesome financial temptations. Like most reporters, Germond is a conventional liberal by temperament--yet readers of all political stripes will enjoy his fast-paced recollections. --John J. Miller

From the Back Cover:

“Richly salted with humor and anecdote. . . . Germond knew everyone, went everywhere, saw everything; his droll style keeps the plot hustling along.”

“A love story about a political journalist’s life, plainly and wonderfully told.”
The Washington Post

“A delicious, anecdote-filled memoir of almost half a century of political reporting.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Everyone who reads this marvelous memoir—and it deserves to have many, many readers—will have a favorite anecdote among the countless tales that Jack Germond piles up.”
The Weekly Standard

“Irresistibly enchanting. . . . Germond weaves a tale of the political goings-on in Washington and the nation that made the history of the past 40 years and more—all sweetened by unflagging personal modesty. He is the sort of reporter of the old school whose self-effacing professionalism raises the question of why anybody needs a new school at all. . . . I found it impossible to move swiftly or inattentively through a single page of this book, so lush it is with detail, with flashing insight.”
Baltimore Sun

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