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Short Synopsis
An intimate and hilarious look inside the spin room of the modern politician: a place where ideals are crushed, English is mangled, people are humiliated, and the opportunity for humor is everywhere.

Full Synopsis
Everyone knows this kind of politician: a charismatic maverick who goes up against the system and its ways, but thinks he doesn't have to live by the rules. Using his experience as a speechwriter, Barton Swaim tells the story of a band of believers who attach themselves to this sort of ambitious narcissist—what makes them invest in these leaders, how these leaders do provide moments of inspiration, and then how they let them down.

The Speechwriter is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words. Through his three years in the office of a controversial governor, Swaim paints a portrait of a man so principled he'd rather sweat than use state money to pay for air conditioning, so oblivious he'd wear the same stained shirt for two weeks, so egotistical he'd belittle his staffers to make himself feel better, and so self-absorbed he never once apologized to his staff for making his administration the laughing stock of the country. On the surface, this is the story of South Carolina governor Mark Sanford's rise and fall. But in the end, it's an account of the very human staffers who go into politics out of conviction and learn to survive a broken heart.

"The book's best passages explore the appeal of charismatic, earnest, and morally challenged souls like Sanford, who invariably devastate their true-believing but self-interested, in-on-the-game handlers and operatives through disastrous public exposure." ---Publishers Weekly

"This is the truest book I've read about politics in some time, hilarious and sordid and wonderfully written." ---Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors

"The narrative is strongest in its quiet reflection of the end of Swaim's political innocence." ---Kirkus

"[A] candid, witty look inside the world of high-stakes politics." ---Self Awareness Pro

"Jonathan Yen's steady narration is clear, thoughtful, and engaging." ---AudioFile

"Reader Yen solidly projects with his deep and commanding voice, which maintains the listener's attention." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

The Speechwriter

A Brief Education in Politics

Author Barton Swaim

Narrated by Jonathan Yen

Publication date Jul 14, 2015

Running time 6 hrs

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