Charlie Mike

Charlie Mike

Joe Klein

Joe Klein

This is the true story of two decorated combat veterans linked by tragedy, who come home from the Middle East and find a new way to save their comrades and heal their country.In Charlie Mike, Joe Klein tells the dramatic story of Eric Greitens and Jake Wood, larger-than-life war heroes who come home and use their military discipline and values to help others. This is a story that hasn’t been told before, one of the most hopeful to emerge from Iraq and Afghanistan—a saga of lives saved, not wasted. Greitens, a Navy SEAL and Rhodes Scholar, spends years working in refugee camps before he joins the military. He enlists because he believes the innocent of the world need heavily armed, moral protection. Wounded in Iraq, Greitens returns home and finds that his fellow veterans at Bethesda Naval Hospital all want the same thing: they want to continue to serve their country in some way, no matter the extent of their injuries. He founds The Mission Continues...
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Primary Colors

Primary Colors

Joe Klein

Joe Klein

Product DescriptionA brilliant and penetrating look behind the scenes of modern American politics, Primary Colors is a funny, wise, and dramatic story with characters and events that resemble some familiar, real-life figures. When a former congressional aide becomes part of the staff of the governor of a small Southern state, he watches in horror, admiration, and amazement, as the governor mixes calculation and sincerity in his not-so-above-board campaign for the presidency. From the Hardcover edition.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.He was a big fellow, looking seriously pale on the streets of Harlem in deep summer. I am small and not so dark, not very threatening to Caucasians; I do not strut my stuff. We shook hands. My inability to recall that particular moment more precisely is disappointing: the handshake is the threshold act, the beginning of politics. I've seen him do it two million times now, but I couldn't tell you how he does it, the right-handed part of it--the strength, quality, duration of it, the rudiments of pressing the flesh. I can, however, tell you a whole lot about what he does with his other hand. He is a genius with it. He might put it on your elbow, or up by your biceps: these are basic, reflexive moves. He is interested in you. He is honored to meet you. If he gets any higher up your shoulder--if he, say, drapes his left arm over your back, it is somehow less intimate, more casual. He'll share a laugh or a secret then--a light secret, not a real one--flattering you with the illusion of conspiracy. If he doesn't know you all that well and you've just told him something "important," something earnest or emotional, he will lock in and honor you with a two-hander, his left hand overwhelming your wrist and forearm. He'll flash that famous misty look of his. And he will mean it. Anyway, as I recall it, he gave me a left-hand-just-above-the-elbow plus a vaguely curious "ah, so you're the guy I've been hearing about" look, and a follow-me nod. I didn't have the time, or presence of mind, to send any message back at him. Slow emotional reflexes, I guess. His were lightning. He was six meaningful handshakes down the row before I caught up. And then I fell in, a step or two behind, classic staff position, as if I'd been doing it all my life. (I had, but not for anyone so good.) We were sweeping up into the library, the librarian in tow, and now he had his big ears on. She was explaining her program and he was in heavy listening mode, the most aggressive listening the world has ever known: aerobic listening. It is an intense, disconcerting phenomenon--as if he were hearing quicker than you can get the words out, as if he were sucking the information out of you. When he gives full ear--a rare enough event; he's usually ingesting from two or three sources--his listening becomes the central fact of the conversation. He was doing this now, with the librarian, and she was staggering under it. She missed a step; he reached out, steadied her. She was middle-aged, pushing fifty, hair dyed auburn to blot the gray, unexceptional except for her legs, which were shocking, a gift from God. Had he noticed the legs when she almost went down on the stair? I couldn't tell. Howard Ferguson III had insinuated himself next to me, as we nudged up the crowded staircase, his hand squeezing my elbow--Lord, these were touchy fellows--saying: "Glad you changed your mind. Jack's really excited you could do this." "What are we doing?" I asked. Howard had called and invited me to meet Governor Jack Stanton, who might or might not be running for president. The governor was stopping in New York on his way to do some early, explanatory wandering through New Hampshire. The invitation came with an intriguing address--in Harlem, of all places. (There was no money in Harlem and this was the serious money-bagging stage of the campaign, especially for an obscure Southern governor.) It also came with shameless flattery. "You're legendary," Howard had said in a dusty midwestern voice, cagey and playful. "He wants to lure you out of retirement." Retirement: I had fled Washington after six years with Congressman William Larkin. It had been my first job out of school--and I was a victim of his upward mobility, from member to whip to majority leader. Too much. I hadn't been ready for power; I'd kind of enjoyed the back benches. It was too soon for me to be someone, the majority leader's guy, the guy you had to get with if you wanted something in or out of this or that. And so, on my thirtieth birthday, an epiphany: "I'm sorry, sir--I need a break," I told the congressman. "Don't you believe in what we're doing?" he asked. You mean, counting heads? Lemme outta here. I was going out with a woman named March then; she was great-looking, but she worked for Nader and came equipped with a lack of irony guaranteed to survive the most rigorous crash testing. I found myself having fantasies of working my way through the months: April, May, June. . . . I don't remember what I told her. I told her something. "Henry, isn't this a little young for a midlife crisis?" she asked. No. I called Philip Noyce at Columbia. I'd known him all my life. He was a colleague of Father's--back when, back before Father left Mother and began his World's Most Obscure Universities Tour. In the event, Philip got me a gig. I taught legislative process. As midlife crises go, it had been a busman's holiday. Now I thought I might be ready to resume . . . things. Anyway, I was curious. What was Jack Stanton doing up in Harlem when he should have been down on Wall Street trying to impress the big spenders? Was he trying to impress me? I doubted it. More likely, he had invited me along for racial cover. I was, I realized, the only black face in his entourage. Howard Ferguson certainly was about as far as you could get from dark. I noticed a discrete bauble of perspiration moving diagonally down the side of his forehead into his weird Elvis sideburn, as if his sweat were rationed: he was so dry, so thin-lipped austere--and his eyes burned so hard--one imagined that whatever juice he had inside was precious; if he didn't stay lubricated, he might catch fire. Howard was legendary himself, sort of: vestigial, a prairie ghost. He was born to a line of arsonists. His great-grandfather Firefly Ferguson had set the wheat fields ablaze and run for governor from a jail cell. Howard wore Firefly's parched, sandy face, thinning hair parted in the middle--and a pink flowered Liberty tie: I do not take this life, these lawyer clothes seriously, it said. His role in the Stanton operation was elusive--months later I'd still be trying to figure it out. He was a man who never tipped his hand, who never expressed an opinion in a meeting, and yet gave off the sense that he had very powerful convictions, too powerful to be hinted among strangers. He had known the governor forever, since the antiwar days. "You ever been to an adult literacy program?" he asked, then chuckled. "Jack eats this shit up. Says it's like going to church." So it was. It was a better room than the usual government-issue Formica and cinder block. There were none of the relentlessly cheery posters of books and owls. It was a dark, solemn place--a WPA library. The bookcases were oak and went most of the way up the walls; there was a mural above, a Bentonian, popular-front vision of biplanes buzzing the Statue of Liberty, locomotives rushing through wheat fields, glorious, muscular laborers going to work--a Howard Ferguson dreamscape. (They didn't need hortatory read books propaganda back then; there were other struggles.) The class was seated around a large, round oak table. They were what the WPA muralist had in mind: a saintly proletariat. The librarian, condescending to them in the reflexive, unconsciously insulting manner of public servants everywhere, introduced the visitor: "Governor Jack Stanton, who has been a great friend of continuing education, and is now running for . . ." She tossed a flirtatious look his way. "Cover," he said. "Do you want to say a few--" "No, no--y'all go on ahead," he purred. "Don't mind me." He took a seat away from the table, deftly respecting the integrity of the class. I sat diagonally across the room from him; I could watch him watching them. Howard stood behind me, leaning against a bookcase. They introduced themselves. They were waitresses, dishwashers and janitors, most in their twenties and thirties, people with night jobs. Each read a little; the women had an easier time of it than the men, who really struggled. And then they said something about their lives. It was very moving. The last to go was Dewayne Smith, who weighed three hundred pounds easy and was a short-order chef. "They just kept passin' me up, y'know?" he said. "Couldn't read a lick, had a . . . learning disbility." He looked over to the librarian to make sure he had said it right. "Dewayne's dyslexic," she said. "They just kept a passin' me up--third grade, fourth grade--and I'm like too proud, y'know? It was like no one noticed anyways. I sit in the back, I ain't a mouthy broth--person, I don't cause no trouble, I stick to my own self. So I go on through, all the ways through. I graduate elementary school. They send me to Ben Franklin, general studies. They coulda sent me to the Bronx Zoo. No one ever tell me nothin'. No one ever say, 'Dewayne, you can't read--what you gonna do with your sorry ass?' Scuse me." He looked over at the governor, who smiled, urging him on. "This was twenty years ago," the librarian interjected. "We're better about catching those things now"--as if that canceled out such monumental callousness, the numb stupidity of the system. "Anyway, graduation come. My momma come. She take the day off from the laundry where she work, puts on her church dress. She don't have a clue nothin's wrong; me neither. I been skatin' through? So we're there and Dr. Dalemberti is callin' out the names and what we did, like 'Sharonna Harris, honors,' or 'Tyrone Kirby, Regents diploma,' and everyone's gotta just stand there on the stage, while they come up one by one. So they get to my name--goin' alphabetical, y'know--and Dr. Dalemberti says, so everyone hear it, 'Dewayne Smith receive a certificate of attendance.' You can hear people buzzin', coupla folks laughin' a little, and I gotta go walk up there, and get this . . . it ...
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