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Newsmax's List of the Best Political Memoirs

Newsmax's List of the Best Political Memoirs
(NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:53 AM

Barack Obama announced earlier this month that his memoirs, titled “A Promised Land,” will hit the bookshelves on November 17.

Axios added what Obama neglected to mention, that “A Promised Land” is 768 pages long, and it’s only Volume 1, which Twitchy editor Greg Pollowitz called “the most Barack Obama thing ever.”

But what of other political memoirs — not just by U.S. presidents but also foreign leaders and U.S. secretaries of state?

Here’s Newsmax’s list of the 10 best in chronological order.

Memoirs of the Second World War” by Winston Churchill.

Not only is Churchill considered one of Great Britain’s best prime ministers in the modern era, but he was also one of the strongest and most eloquent voices among the leaders of the WWII allied countries facing off against the axis nations.

The book was originally available in six hardcover volumes: “The Gathering Storm,” “Their Finest Hour,” “The Grand Alliance,” “The Hinge of Fate,” “Closing the Ring,” and “Triumph and Tragedy,” published over a six-year period. It’s currently available in an abridged, paperback edition.

“Memoirs” is the riveting tale of the fight between a tiny island nation and its allies against forces led by Nazi Germany, told by what was arguably the most powerful player in World War II.

In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal” by Richard M. Nixon.

Despite the controversy surrounding Nixon, his administration was undeniably marked by many successes. He re-established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and laid the framework for ending the war in Vietnam.

But Nixon was also caught up in the Watergate scandal, and as a result he was the only president in history to resign from office.

Despite being known as a very private individual engaged in a very public profession, “In the Arena” is perhaps the most intimate memoir ever written by a major political figure. Nixon shared his private thoughts and feelings on his long political career, as well as American and world leaders.

Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises” by Henry Kissinger.

Kissinger served as secretary of state under both Nixon and President Gerald Ford after Nixon’s resignation, and as such he was at the front lines during the breakout and end of the Yom Kippur War, and the closing days of America’s long conflict in Vietnam.

“Crisis” is based upon formerly classified transcripts of telephone conversations Kissinger had with foreign leaders during those days, including with the Israeli prime minister, the U.N. secretary general and President Nixon.

Amazon describes “Crisis” as “a book that presents perhaps the best record of the inner workings of diplomacy at the superheated pace and tension of real crisis.”

An American Life” by Ronald Reagan.

Known as “the great communicator,” Reagan was also perhaps the father of the modern American conservative movement, based on his belief that prosperity flourishes best when freedom is at its maximum and taxes are kept to a minimum.

“An American Life” recounts his days as a television and screen actor, to his pivot into the political arena, first as president of the Screen Actors Guild, then into California politics, and finally his road to the White House.

Throughout Reagan’s eight years in office, he promoted freedom to other world leaders, and in the process arguably set into motion the fall of the Soviet Union.

Amazon describes “American Life” as “a warm, richly detailed, and deeply human book, a brilliant self-portrait, a significant work of history.”

The Downing Street Years” by Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher was to the United Kingdom what Reagan was to the United States. Known as the “Iron Lady,” Thatcher, like Reagan, championed liberty and personal responsibility, and the two were also the best of friends during the years they were leaders of their respective countries.

According to Amazon, “Margaret Thatcher frankly recalls the former British prime minister's dealings with U.S. presidents, the Falkland War, and her election victories in 1983 and 1987.”

A World Transformed” by George H.W. Bush.

The former World War II Naval aviator served as Reagan’s vice president before entering the White House. Although in office for only a single term, he helped shape events that truly left “A World Transformed” in that brief time.

Bush oversaw the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the fall of the Soviet Union, and helped put together one of the greatest coalitions in world history to push Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait and back to Iraq. He also explained why he didn’t follow them back into Bagdad.

The New York Times Book Review described it as "The most important book yet written about the end of the Cold War."

The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989–1992” by James A. Baker III.

Baker served as secretary of state under President George H. W. Bush, and “Politics” describes those tumultuous years and Baker’s role in shaping some of the most pivotal events of the second half of the 20th century.

Those events included the end of the Communist Eastern Bloc, the invasion of Panama, the first Gulf War, and the end of apartheid and corresponding birth of freedom in South Africa.

My Life” by Bill Clinton.

As the title implies, “My Life” covers Clinton’s life from his earliest memories in Hope, Arkansas, through his eight years in the White House, and include his triumphs and tragedies, his winsomeness and his warts.

Amazon describes “My Life as “the fullest, most concretely detailed, most nuanced account of a presidency ever written — encompassing not only the high points and crises but the way the presidency actually works: the day-to-day bombardment of problems, personalities, conflicts, setbacks, achievements.”

Decision Points” by George W. Bush.

The “Bush-43” years can only be described as uncertain, ushered in by the al-Qaeda terrorist attack less than eight months after he was sworn into office, and the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan that resulted.

Less than two months after its 2010 release, “Decision Points” outpaced Clinton’s memoir by selling more than two million copies within two months to become a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.

“A groundbreaking new brand of presidential memoir, ‘Decision Points’ will captivate supporters, surprise critics, and change perspectives on eight remarkable years in American history — and on the man at the center of events,” according to Amazon.

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington” by Condoleeza Rice.

Like Kissinger and Nixon before her, Rice served first as national security advisor, then as secretary of state to George W. Bush, and remains to this day as one of America’s most admired women.

“Surprisingly candid in her appraisals of various Administration colleagues and the hundreds of foreign leaders with whom she dealt, Rice also offers here keen insight into how history actually proceeds,” according to Amazon. “In ‘No Higher Honor,’ she delivers a master class in statecraft but always in a way that reveals her essential warmth and humility, and her deep reverence for the ideals on which America was founded.”

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Barack Obama announced earlier this month that his memoirs, titled “A Promised Land,” will hit the bookshelves on November 17. But what of other political memoirs? Here’s Newsmax’s list of the 10 best in chronological order.
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