Fat Man in a Middle Seat by Jack W. Germond
Forty Years of Covering Politics

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Synopsis

For over four decades, the legendary reporter Jack W. Germond has made national politics his beat. He is a journalist whose incisive, honest, no-nonsense reporting--and tremendous wit--are hallmarks of a singular career in punditry. Germond is one of our best political writers, and in this hugely entertaining memoir he serves up his inimitable views on politicians and elections across the country and recounts the daily trials of being a political reporter on the road--including often returning home on a late-Friday-night standby flight, a fat man in a middle seat.

Germond vividly recalls the races and personalities of the past forty years in politics: the great New York governors Averell Harriman and Nelson Rockefeller; the ever-present Richard Nixon; and Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. He writes about the politics of race relations and how George Wallace "wrote the book on playing the race card." He discusses Watergate and what a nightmare it was for other reporters that two "unknown punks" had all the sources locked up. Germond is fascinating on the subject of reporting, notably on ethics and graft, and on the colleagues and bosses who didn't think he looked the part of a bureau chief. He writes about countless late nights in bars, rides on campaign planes, and off-the-record briefings and strategy sessions--the real stuff of politics. Germond is perceptive, honest, and bitingly funny (especially when writing about the enormous ego of John McLaughlin).

In an age when the media have become their own worst enemy, Jack Germond reminds us what great reporting is. Fat Man in a Middle Seat is an essential book for political junkies, followers of current affairs and journalism, and anyone interested in how the country is really governed.
 

About Jack W. Germond

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Jack W. Germond is a political columnist for the Baltimore Sun. He has been Gannett bureau chief in Washington and a columnist and editor for the now-defunct Washington Star. He first appeared on Meet the Press in 1972 and has been a regular on the Today show, CNN, and The McLaughlin Group. He is a regular panelist on Inside Washington. Germond lives in Charles Town, West Virginia.
 
Published November 2, 1999 by Random House. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Far less blustery than his once heavyweight counterpart on the right (when Rush Limbaugh was contemplating taking his talk show to another medium, Germond commented, “we need more fat guys on television”), Germond offers up the pointed reminder that we get the politicians we deserve: we treat the...

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On John McLaughlin, host of the TV program Germond appeared on for 15 years: “His ego [was] always greater than seemed justified by his charm and achievement.” On Bush: “The most vacuous man to occupy the Oval Office in my time.” On Clinton: “The most selfish and egocentric politician I have ever...

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Publishers Weekly

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Tackling everything from empty campaign rituals and deceptive TV ads to misleading polls and shallow news coverage, rotund political pundit Germond (Fat Man in a Middle Seat ) holds forth on political ills.

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Publishers Weekly

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But throughout a long career as a political correspondent and columnist with the Gannett chain, the Washington Star and the Baltimore Sun, he has been a reporter's reporter (and, he lets readers know repeatedly, a reporter's drinker).

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