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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
you don’t really want to read the book Bryan Curtis briefly quotes all the juicy parts, and leaves out the rest.
A reader's guide to
Kitty Kelley's The Family.
By Bryan Curtis
Sept. 15, 2004, at 4:01 PM PT - SLATE.COM