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Mark Twain's Tale of Today; Halley's Comet Returns: The Celebrated Author Critiques American Politics

Bliss, Donald Tiffany

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ISBN 10: 147740502X / ISBN 13: 9781477405024
Published by Hale & Northam LLC, Bethesda, MD, 2012
Condition: Very good Soft cover
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About this Item

xxi, [1], 570, [2] pages. Illustrations. Chronology. Bibliography. End Notes. Inscribed and dated by author on title page. Donald Tiffany Bliss, (November 24, 1941). Juris Doctor, Harvard University, 1966. Recipient special citation Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1972, 73; President's Certified Executive Management, 1973; Superior Achievement award Department Transportation, 1976. Assistant to secretary Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1969-1972. Special assistant to administrator Environmental Protection Agency, 1972-1973. Executive secretary Agency for International Development, 1973-1974. Deputy general counsel unites states department Transportation, 1975-1977, acting general counsel,1976-1977. Partner firm O'Melveny & Myers, Washington, 1979 to present(?). Member interior task force Grace Commission. Approaching this stout volume with extreme trepidation, the reader quickly discovers that Bliss is exceptionally well-qualified to write a book on Twain and politics. Bliss, a partner in an international law firm in Washington D.C. served in the Federal government for thirteen years. He was the U.S. ambassador to a Canadian aviation organization for three years, was the Executive Secretary to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and was acting General Counsel of the Department of Transportation. He was also a registered lobbyist, appeared before the Supreme Court, worked on a Presidential campaign, served on several nonprofit boards, and published several books. So far, so good. Bliss traces the evolution of Twain's political views and participation, culminating in a close examination of Twain sweeping political novel, The Gilded Age, and then follows Twain's political involvement and education to the end of his life. It is a long and fascinating journey from Twain's early days of enthusiastic immersion in the rough and tumble skullduggery of Nevada's ethically-challenged legislatures of the 1860s to his bitter denunciations of Presidents and Generals as they dishonored America's principles before the entire world. Bookseller Inventory # 75145

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Mark Twain's Tale of Today; Halley's Comet ...

Publisher: Hale & Northam LLC, Bethesda, MD

Publication Date: 2012

Binding: Trade paperback

Book Condition: Very good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: Presumed First Edition, First printing.

About this title


Second Edition, March 2017: As America's first global celebrity, Mark Twain was a much-sought-after political commentator. He warned against politicians who put loyalty to party above the national interest, the corrupting influence of money in the legislative process, the irelevance of political campaigns that sidestep issues of voter concern by resorting to platitudes and demonizing the opposition, and the false patriotism that rallies support for unjust wars. Twain's cogent, insightful commentary retains an uncanny relevance to the challenges facing American democracy today. Mark Twain's Tale of Today traces the evolution of Twain's views about politics, government, social and economic issues, capitalism, foreign policy and American-style democracy. It describes the parallels between Twain's Gilded Age and contemporary America-- boom and bust economic cycles, partisan trench warfare and gridlock, risky speculation in the financial markets, rapid technological and cultural change, and rising income disparity. It is worth remembering Twain's admonition: "It cannot be well or safe to let present political conditions continue indefinitely. They can be improved, and American citizenship sould rise up from its disheartenment and see that it is done." Twain offered solutions-- extensive civic education begining on the mother's knee and continuing throughout the educational spectrum, an informed, engaged and activist citizenry, and the election of representatives of integrity, regardless of political affiliation, who think and act independently and have the courage to lead rather than bend to the fickle breezes of public opinion or party platitudes and platforms. The book describes the forces that shaped Twain's political views, his childhood in the border slave state of Missouri, his work as a printer's devil in his brother's Hannibal newspaper, a teenager's visit to the nation's capital, his frontier reporting on the Nevada territorial legislature, his brief stint in 1867-68 as a congressional aide to Nevada Senator William Stewart in Washington D.C., his reporting on Congress, reconstruction legislation and Andrew Johnson's impeachment proceedings, his marriage into a progressive Republican family, and his many visits to Washington to lecture, lobby, advise presidents and testify before Congress. From Twain's countless books, essays, newspaper stories, magazine articles, short stories, satires, speeches, lectures, letters, and unpublished dications and stories, the author has presented a portrait of an American genius, who, mostly known as the "Lincoln of our literature" or a widely quoted humorist with a maxim for every occasion, was also in many ways the first "talking head, whose observations remain as relevant as any Sunday morning round table guest, cable TV or radio talk show host, or contemporary political blogger. Twain believed that the truth about American politics goes down better with a dose of humor, and that a refom message resonates more fully in a story rather than in a lecture. He is the progenitor of political satires that find expression today in the works of Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Second City, the Capitol Steps, Maureen Dowd, and countless others. But there is a depth and seriousness to his commentary that is worthy of revisiting today. That is the reason for the title of this book, which is a take-off on Twain's first novel (written with Charles Dudley Warner) about Congreesional corruption and market speculation, The Gilded Age, A Tale of To-Day. The author, Donald Tiffany Bliss, is the great-grandson and grandson of Twain publishers and he draws upon some family history in the book. Ambassador Bliss (retired) also spent thirteen years in the federal government and thirty years in the private practice of law in Washington D.C. where he has had a ringside seat on the workings of government and politics.

About the Author:

Ambassador Donald Tiffany Bliss (retired) served for thirteen years in the federal government in four administrations and practiced law with an international law firm in Washington D.C. for thirty years. He has testified before Congress, registered as a lobbyist, directed a political action committee, worked in a presidential campaign, served as president of a political think tank, argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, and advised numerous clients on the mysterious workings of the federal bureaucracy. He has served on a number of nonprofit and corporate boards and is currently president of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. He draws on these experiences in drawing parallels between the Gilded Age and contemporary American politics. Bliss is the great-grandson of Elisha Bliss, Jr, President of the American Publishing Company, which published, among others, Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, The Gilded Age, and Tom Sawyer. He is also the grandson of Walter Bliss, who, as secretary and treasurer of the American Publishing Company, was involved in the publication, among others, of Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson, and the collected works of Mark Twain. Bliss is the author of The Law of Airline Customer Relations, Stability, Security, Safety and Service, Hale & Northam (2002) and is co-author of Counsel for the Situation, Shaping the Law to Realize America's Promise, Brookings Press (2010) (the story of the life of the Honorable William T. Coleman, Jr, a great American lawyer who broke many barriers.) Bliss lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife, Nancy.

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