The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category on the right side bar.
[On a side note, several military bloggers (myself included) met Dana Perino on her first day on the job as Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. It was also Tony Snow's last day on the job. I was able to say thank you to him, and, class act that he was, he pointed at Dana Perino and said, "she'll be here for you now."]
And the Good News Is by Dana Perino is an inspiring book. It combines a self-portrait of her early years, her journey culminating in becoming the first female Republican press secretary, and her ability to give very practical advice. No matter what a person’s political affiliation they can draw from this book refreshing stories of loyalty, humility, friendship, and family.
An insightful chapter in the book is her feelings about civility. She is straightforward in her insistence that America has lost something by disagreeing without respecting one another. She stated, “there are ways that we can deploy some gentler words to our debates that can make us more productive. There’s no sense in working against each other if we have the same goals in mind, hashing out differences doesn’t have to be a blood sport. We make a choice when we open our mouths. Are we going to be gracious or not?”
Perino portrays President Bush as being gracious, which she sees as effective and persuasive. Having never sought the limelight or criticized President Obama he understands that his comments could be very damaging. She noted to blackfive.net, “One time I asked President George W. Bush why is that we always have to turn the other cheek and they don’t. He responded, ‘well its our burden to bear.’” On the other hand, she compares that to Senator Harry Reid who is “a destructive force in Washington D.C. Look at the incivility that is prevalent all over Washington and you will find it leading directly to Harry Reid’s doorstep.”
Perino writes in the book that she had to follow her own advice while dealing with the press’ constant criticism of the President. While forcing herself to be outwardly civil as press secretary, she secretly released her emotions by sometimes flipping them the bird under the podium, while holding a glass of water and keeping a pleasant look. She noted, “it was my secret way of firing back when the briefing questioning got heated.”
Readers are reminded how G. W. Bush was very supportive of the military. As President he would send a personal note to all families who lost a loved one while serving their country. There is a heart-wrenching scene where a mother whose son was on life support severely criticized President Bush. She writes, “He didn't leave. He stood there, almost as if he needed to absorb it and to understand it. Commanders in chief make really tough decisions, and we went on to the next rooms, and I remember those being experiences where the families were very happy to see him. But when we got on Marine One to fly back to the White House, the president was looking out the window, and then he looked at me and he said, "That mama sure was mad at me." And then he looked out the window and he said, "And I don't blame her a bit." And a tear rolled down his cheek, but he didn't wipe it away, and then we flew back to the White House.”
Perino discussed with blackfive.net the unbelievable attitude of those who have criticized the movie American Sniper. As someone who was able to personally interact with Navy SEALs she finds it humbling to be around them and respects them for “their courage and bravery. They’re remarkably unselfish, honorable, strong, and courageous. One of the themes of my book is optimism. I am very optimistic because all this criticism has backfired on those protesting the movie because Americans are not persuaded by the left’s call to not support it. The market obviously showed the condemnation is not working.”
Readers will find And the Good News Is, a book that has a positive outlook toward America, with an optimistic undertone. Through her anecdotes and stories Dana Perino offers advice that is both practical and moralistic. This book is written in a witty and articulate manner that will have readers go through a gamut of emotions as they reflect on her personal experiences.