Reviews of "Basic Brown" by Willie L. Brown and P.J. Corkery Are In!
Here are the national -terrific- reviews of "Basic Brown," the memoir and political handbook written by Willie L. Brown Jr. and P. J. Corkery. "Basic Brown" is now on sale via Amazon. The official publication date is February 5, 2008.
From Kirkus Reviews:
KIRKUS REVIEWS, 12/15/07
BASIC BROWN: My Life and Our Times
The legendary California politician and power broker struts his stuff.
A credentials battle and an electrifying speech to the 1972 National Democratic Convention shone the national spotlight on Brown, and he’s warmed himself in its glow ever since. As the first African-American and longest-tenured speaker of the California Assembly and as two-term mayor of San Francisco, he displayed all the talents common to political genius: He was a charismatic speaker, a prodigious fundraiser and a consummate insider who mastered the rules of any office he held and never lost the common touch. He fought successfully against limitations imposed by the white community by never styling himself as merely a minority spokesman. Brown operated with a panache normally associated with big-city mayors from a bygone era. Like New York’s Jimmy Walker and Boston’s James Michael Curley, he was famed as a clotheshorse, a gourmand, a showman (he had a cameo in The Godfather: Part III), an inveterate partygoer, table-hopper and ladies’ man, despite his 50-year marriage. His altogether unique style inspired his supporters and confounded his enemies. Convinced that anyone so powerful had to be corrupt, the FBI tried unsuccessfully for years to get something on him. Even after finally achieving a majority in the Assembly, Republicans proved unable to oust him as speaker. Brown retells with relish his political battles, including his efforts to restore San Francisco’s City Hall, and drops allusions to giants of California politics, including former Speaker Jesse Unruh, former SF Mayor George Moscone, congresswoman Maxine Waters, gay-rights activist Harvey Milk and Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Herb Caen. His memoir includes just enough biographical information about his modest origins to place his spectacular career in impressive relief.
The scattershot narrative, breakneck gallop through topics large and small, seductive name-dropping and, above all, Brown’s impregnable self-confidence add up to what feels like a genuine encounter with an unforgettable character.
From Publishers Weekly:
Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times
Willie Brown. Simon & Schuster, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9081-4
Brown, “[b]lack, urban, flamboyant, politically adroit,” is part hardworking politician and part legend. “A political career [had] never entered [his] mind,” when the teenaged Texas country boy arrived in San Francisco in 1951. Thirty years later, Brown became Speaker of the California Assembly, a triply historic event: he won with bipartisan support, was the first African-American to do so and served longer than any else in the position; then from 1996 to 2003, he was San Francisco 's mayor. Brown's autobiography is a candid and fascinating how-to-succeed-in-politics, crammed with down-to-earth reality tips not common in civics texts. He advises how to dress, work a party and manage one's own scandals. But Brown did not achieve political power by merely window dressing and shares his mastery of the finer and lesser points of political strategy. He revisits the major controversies of his reign in the assembly and the successes of which he is most proud. “The real Slick Willie,” Clinton called him; Brown says simply, “I'm unique.” His always lively and often self-serving account is a candid tutorial for aspiring politicians and ordinary folk who enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how local (and sometimes national) government works. Illus. (Feb.)