Just Above Sunset
September 19, 2004: The never-ending search for a copy of Kitty Kelley's new book...

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By Bob Patterson…

Our efforts to snag a copy of Kitty Kelley’s latest book, The Family: The Real Story Of The Bush Dynasty began about a week ago, when we started sleuthing around LA’s Westside hoping to find a review copy in one of our favorite used book stores.  A call and two visits did not produce the desired results.

Previously some other newsworthy books had caused some intrepid booksellers to stay open so that at 12:01 a.m. on the day the book was officially supposed to go on sale, so eager patrons could buy them at the first available opportunity.  We were hoping there would be a similar event in conjunction with the start of sales for this book.  We called the Westwood outlet for Borders Books and Music and asked if they would be according the new Kelley book that bit of marketing.  They said they would not.

On Tuesday, September 14, 2004, the day for the official start of sales for the item, we took a bus up to Westwood and went to our favorite mystery bookstore to see if they were offering the new book that was out of their area of expertise.  Our preference would have been to buy the book there, but they weren’t going to be selling that item.  We ambled down to the Borders location.

A gentleman, approximately sixty years of age, was examining a copy at the same time we were checking the index and assessing the prospect of shelling out some money for a copy.  Simultaneously we both asked, “So, what do you think?”  I mentioned the fact that Ms. Kelley seemed to present the Bush family’s association with the German banker Fritz Thyssen in a rather cursory and colorless manner.  At that point the guy took the copy over to the check out counter.

Another fellow, of about the same age, gave the book a brief examination.  He looked at the dust jacket information and his manner became disdainful.  I mentioned that Ms. Kelley didn’t seem to dig in a relentless and comprehensive manner.  The guy’s demeanor appeared to become more aggressive.  He said that “they” should dig deeper into Kerry’s voting record.  It seems that remarks that Kerry made after returning from Vietnam had become the crucial factor in all this fellow’s related decisions.  Case closed.

The index made scant mention of some relevant items and seemed to ignore some topics which, it seemed to this columnist and book reviewer, might have merited a bit of consideration.  Such as?  The Bush family track record regarding the banking industry.  Yes, she mentioned Union Banking Corporation in the area devoted to Fritz Thyssen, but, based on a quick scan of the index, it seems she has passed on BCCI, Silverado Banking Savings and Loan, and Broward Federal Savings as topics to be examined.

Despite our reluctance based on economic considerations, it was time to disregard pecuniary caution and join the crowd who were buying this cultural curiosity de jour.

To make a judgment at this point would be like reviewing a movie’s trailer and not the work itself.  We will have to read the book before delving into an attempt at a review.  The New York Times has published a review in the September 14, 2004 edition.

The last time this columnist/book reviewer recalls buying a book on the day of publication was the day when Madonna’s book Sex went on sale.  It seems we managed to purchase the last copy available in the Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Westwood area of Los Angeles.

We don’t do it often, hence the experience itself becomes a noteworthy aspect of the purchase.


Copyright 2004 – Robert Patterson



Editor’s Note:

Monday the 13th, Bob suggested I take the digital camera down to Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard for the book signing of the week.  Paris Hilton was there, signing copies of whatever it is she wrote, or had written for her.  Book Soup is just twenty blocks from home.  Perhaps I could get some cool pictures.  The event was scheduled for seven in the evening, and when I drove by just before five there were already several hundred young folks milling about and spilling over into the street.  Your editor decided that stopping at Franklin and La Cienega, near there, for cat food and a lottery ticket, was better than braving the crowd for a few celebrity shots.  Your editor just doesn’t have the soul of a paparazzi.  Sorry.

I’m sure Paris Hilton is a pleasant young lady.  Others covered it.  I didn’t.


The New York Times initial review of the Kelley book:

A Bush Biography for the Age of Innuendo
Michiko Kakutani - Published: September 14, 2004


Kitty Kelley's catty new book about the Bush family is a perfect artifact of our current political culture in which unsubstantiated attacks on Senator John Kerry's Vietnam War record and old questions about President Bush's National Guard service get more attention than present-day issues like the Iraq war, the economy, intelligence reform or the assault weapons ban.

It is also a perfect artifact of a cultural climate in which gossip and innuendo thrive on the Internet; more and more biographies of artists and public figures dwell, speculatively, on familial dysfunction and disorder; and buzz - be it based on verified facts or sheer rumor-mongering - is regarded as a be-all and end-all.

… the author's undisguised contempt for many of the Bushes, combined with her failure to come to terms with politics and policy, and her tireless focus on sex, drugs and alcohol, will likely play into family members' penchant for assailing the media. It will likely give them an opening to shrug off this book as a snarky exercise in gossip, instead of forcing them to deal with substantive questions about their political record. Then again, in an election season willfully focused on the past and the personal and the unproven, this book may provide yet another distraction from issues here and now.




If you don’t really want to read the book Bryan Curtis briefly quotes all the juicy parts, and leaves out the rest.


Burning Bushes
A reader's guide to Kitty Kelley's The Family.
By Bryan Curtis
Updated Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004, at 4:01 PM PT - SLATE.COM


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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