Political books the presidential candidates should be reading
The Times' book staff asked writers, historians and cultural observers for their suggestions on books that could help Romney or Obama govern effectively over the next four years.
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Mark Helprin( Lisa Kennedy / August 16, 2012 )
Helprin is the author of many books, including "Winter's Tale," "A Soldier of the Great War" and the forthcoming "In Sunlight and in Shadow."
There is about as much chance of a presidential candidate profitably reading a real book in the heat of a campaign as there is of a horse in the home stretch of the Kentucky Derby suddenly turning to the Talmud. But let's say the whole world was on drugs, and one did. He might best fill the vacuum of his lack of contemplation if he read Sir Martin Gilbert's magisterial, 8,600-page biography of Winston Churchill ("Winston S. Churchill," Vols.I-VII, Vols. I&II by Randolph Churchill) and perhaps some of the 16 companion volumes, carefully.
In the long life of an extraordinarily courageous, deeply educated, spiritually generous, literary genius who held 13 cabinet posts, won the Nobel Prize in literature, was twice (technically thrice) prime minister, experienced and/or led Britain through six wars and scores of crises, and, in the greatest conflagration in human history, saved the West, our politician would find an education in statesmanship. Statesmanship is what we lack, and what we need so that the United States might not have to face the world, as it has for so long now, like a Teletubby trying to run the Iditarod.