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Playing President: My Close Ecounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan, and Clinton--and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush

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Robert Scheer's interviews with and profiles of US presidents have shaped journalism history. Scheer developed close journalistic relationships with Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush I. His reporting on them had a tangible impact on national debate, such as the eminent 1976 Playboy interview in which Jimmy Carter, the then-presidential candidate, admitted Robert Scheer's interviews with and profiles of US presidents have shaped journalism history. Scheer developed close journalistic relationships with Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush I. His reporting on them had a tangible impact on national debate, such as the eminent 1976 Playboy interview in which Jimmy Carter, the then-presidential candidate, admitted to have lusted in his heart; and the 1980 interview with the L.A. Times, during which Bush I confessed to Scheer his dream of a "winnable nuclear war.” In Playing President, Robert Scheer offers an unparalleled insight into the presidential mind. He analyses each administration since Nixon, and including George W. Bush, offering insights that will surprise the reader—particularly those with rigid preconceptions about the decision-making processes of our leaders. The volume will also include reprints of Scheer’s famous presidential interviews, along with previously unpublished interview transcripts and select previous writings. Robert Scheer is the author of six books, including Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death: Essays on the Pornography of Power; With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War; and America After Nixon: The Age of Multinationals. Along with Christopher Scheer and Lakshmi Chaudhry, he is the coauthor of The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq (Seven Stories/Akashic). Scheer is currently a clinical professor of communications at the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. He is a nationally syndicated columnist based at the Los Angeles Times, a contributing editor at the Nation, and a host of NPR-affiliate KCRW's Left, Right, and Center.


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Robert Scheer's interviews with and profiles of US presidents have shaped journalism history. Scheer developed close journalistic relationships with Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush I. His reporting on them had a tangible impact on national debate, such as the eminent 1976 Playboy interview in which Jimmy Carter, the then-presidential candidate, admitted Robert Scheer's interviews with and profiles of US presidents have shaped journalism history. Scheer developed close journalistic relationships with Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush I. His reporting on them had a tangible impact on national debate, such as the eminent 1976 Playboy interview in which Jimmy Carter, the then-presidential candidate, admitted to have lusted in his heart; and the 1980 interview with the L.A. Times, during which Bush I confessed to Scheer his dream of a "winnable nuclear war.” In Playing President, Robert Scheer offers an unparalleled insight into the presidential mind. He analyses each administration since Nixon, and including George W. Bush, offering insights that will surprise the reader—particularly those with rigid preconceptions about the decision-making processes of our leaders. The volume will also include reprints of Scheer’s famous presidential interviews, along with previously unpublished interview transcripts and select previous writings. Robert Scheer is the author of six books, including Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death: Essays on the Pornography of Power; With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War; and America After Nixon: The Age of Multinationals. Along with Christopher Scheer and Lakshmi Chaudhry, he is the coauthor of The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq (Seven Stories/Akashic). Scheer is currently a clinical professor of communications at the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. He is a nationally syndicated columnist based at the Los Angeles Times, a contributing editor at the Nation, and a host of NPR-affiliate KCRW's Left, Right, and Center.

30 review for Playing President: My Close Ecounters with Nixon, Carter, Bush I, Reagan, and Clinton--and How They Did Not Prepare Me for George W. Bush

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    The author writes and is insightful, perceptive, fair, penetrating, liberal, pro immigration reform, pro racial and gender equality, pro gay rights, and anti pampering and subsidizing the banks, the oil companies and the 1%. The book is divided into chapters covering US Presidents of the last fifty years, to the exclusion of Ford and Obama. Book was published in 2006. Nixon, Reagan, Carter and Clinton complimented the author for thoroughness and fairness. The book includes extensive interviews and The author writes and is insightful, perceptive, fair, penetrating, liberal, pro immigration reform, pro racial and gender equality, pro gay rights, and anti pampering and subsidizing the banks, the oil companies and the 1%. The book is divided into chapters covering US Presidents of the last fifty years, to the exclusion of Ford and Obama. Book was published in 2006. Nixon, Reagan, Carter and Clinton complimented the author for thoroughness and fairness. The book includes extensive interviews and analyses. Bush Sr tried to fire the author from a 30 year career in the LA Times and failed; the Chandlers were still around. George W., who never allowed the author an interview tried to fire the author and prevailed. The book tries to walk away from political and historical stereotypes. Nixon is not just Watergate i.e. Nixon is brilliant. Clinton is not just Monica Lewinsky. i.e. Clinton is a good president, etc. George W was a disaster. He reduced a great power to a war that was totally misplaced. Iraq had nothing to do with 911 and nothing to do with WMD. A total waste of human and fiscal treasure. All in the name of chasing 'shadows' and taking care of his oil company friends. Robert Scheer is no Oriana Fallaci, but I am a devotee just the same. I have heard him dozens of times in PBS 'Left, Right and Center' and in the LA Times Festival of Books....................

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tom Schulte

    This is a collection of Scheer's interviews with and columns about presidents from Playboy and Los Angeles Times. Nixon & Reagan come across to me as wise and manipulative in the latter and gentler and more manipulated in the latter. More of a surprise to me as I recall a Reagan myth of goofy cowboy actor and drawing a straight line to senile befuddlement. Apparently, a shrewd operator acted betwixt. Nixon comes across more as Dubya to Kissinger's Karl Rove ... and who do we still have? Well, it This is a collection of Scheer's interviews with and columns about presidents from Playboy and Los Angeles Times. Nixon & Reagan come across to me as wise and manipulative in the latter and gentler and more manipulated in the latter. More of a surprise to me as I recall a Reagan myth of goofy cowboy actor and drawing a straight line to senile befuddlement. Apparently, a shrewd operator acted betwixt. Nixon comes across more as Dubya to Kissinger's Karl Rove ... and who do we still have? Well, it is all thought-provoking these early, in-depth interviews with candidates campaigning for office. Carter squirming in his Playboy interview comes across as authentic and brave while Schneer commonly comes across as persnickety and needling. Clinton seems gracious to fawning and trying to get close to this left-wing scribe who seems coy and awed, both Bushes have the least revealing material and especially columns criticizing Bush (rightly in retrospect) for ignoring The Taliban, etc. seems to add nothing and only be here to move books.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    Robert Scheer has interviewed every president from Nixon through Bush with prescience and perspective, and shares his insights in this book compiled of interviews as well as commentary. The chapter most personally striking was the one in which years before Bush’s popularity ratings sank, Scheer questioned the efficacy and sense of policy paths being established. This is a fine overview of modern day presidencies.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    An insightful, thought provoking collection of interviews and columns spanning the presidential terms of Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush I and II. Scheer interviewed all but Bush II - and I wonder if his assessment of 'W' would have been even more negative if he had interviewed him as well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Johanna Gail Tongco

    A compelling book that highlights the important events that occured during the administrations during Nixon, Cater, Bush I, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush. It is very straight-forward but also a series of unoffending interviews that hit the spot

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Hanes

    Readable and enlightening. Trying his latest one, too, on Wall Street.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judi

    One of the most boring books I have ever read!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathleen

    A compilation of interviews by Mr. Scheer (the pre-Fox News era). Good stuff. I liked it enough to subscribe to Truthdig, for which Mr. Scheer is a contributor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Revert

    Sort of skip read the book---perhaps it should have been studied more closely--by me!

  10. 4 out of 5

    ABC

    This book is by the journalist to whom Jimmy Carter confessed that he lusted in his heart. Basically, the book is an overview of Scheer's opinions of all the presidents from Nixon to G.W.Bush.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim Grudzinski

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chochacho

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael Loret

  16. 4 out of 5

    Raja

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Johnson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Michael Atchue

  19. 5 out of 5

    specious_reasons

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brad

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nora

  24. 4 out of 5

    ProgressiveBookClub

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian Vadakin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mcintire

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Thinus

  29. 4 out of 5

    James

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cantik

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