Chris Matthews’ new book catalogues his front-row seat to history
Matthews is something of a political monument himself. He has built a decades-long career in journalism as one of the most widely respected political minds in Washington, renowned for his sometimes facile ability to spot comers, recall obscure political factoids and ask abrupt, interrupting questions about how the sausage gets made. His bestseller “Hardball: How Politics Is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game,” and his MSNBC show of the same name helped define American politics for a generation. His columns were good, his analysis was sharp, and the reader knows it, because he quotes himself throughout the book. Nobody was better at identifying the political currents and predicting where they were going — he twice won the Washington Post’s “Crystal Ball” awards for successfully predicting presidential elections — which he also makes sure to note.
But while Matthews proved an able historian in his three books about the Kennedys and one about political opponents Ronald Reagan and Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., his memoir fails to convey the complexity and nuance of being a real person living through …
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