Republican books: What do they tell us?

A run for America's highest office is no longer complete without a Facebook page, campaign manager and a hefty hardback. This week, Newt Gingrich joined a crowded field of Republican authors with his latest work. So what do their books teach us, asks Tom Geoghegan?

"Presidential campaigns have perfected the art of candidates writing books as a warm-up for a formal announcement," says Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's campaign in 1996 (SR in table below). "They put in biog information for those not well known or they put meat on policy."

For the money-making potential, authors may look no further than President Barack Obama, who made millions from his two titles. Four of the Republicans hoping to remove him from the White House in 2012 have written books in the past year. And then there's publishing star Sarah Palin. She has yet to decide on running, but has a new book out - perhaps just in case - that's selling well. Here is a rundown of their works.

Mitt Romney Sarah Palin Ron Paul Newt Gingrich Tim Pawlenty

Sources: Scott Reed; Daniel Stone, Daily Beast's White House correspondent; John Avlon, author of Wingnuts; David Wallace of Pennsylvania University;

Nielsen BookScan, which covers about 75% of retail sales in the US

Mitt Romney's book

Cover: Call me Rombo

Sarah Palin book

Cover: Mama Grizzly

Ron Paul's book

Cover: Classy, no headshot

Newt Gingrich's book

Cover: Patriotic, like the text

Tim Pawlenty's book

Cover: Straight-up guy

Meet the author

Ex-Massachusetts governor, 64, ran in 2008, very rich

Ex-Alaska governor, 47, was vice-pres nominee in 2008

Libertarian and Texas congressman, aged 75

Ex-House Speaker and former Bill Clinton foe, aged 67

Ex-Minnesota governor, 50,

helped John McCain in 2008

The 25-word version

Obama, stop apologising for US foreign policy and stop spending so much of our money. This is my thesis on how to keep America as the world's No 1 superpower.

America is the greatest country but it's a shame its leader doesn't agree. This is my view of what makes her special - its values, its family strength and its faith in God.

An A-Z of issues that define me. I'm for a small state, low taxes, individual freedom. I'm against foreign wars, the death penalty, abortion, action on climate change and drug laws.

The nation's founding ideals made America unique, but now we are in danger of adopting European traits like suffocating enterprise and big government. This book is a wake-up call.

I fixed Minnesota and I can fix America. I always win against the odds. I took on the unions and I stood up to the state's prevailing left-wing thinking and the status quo.

Heroes (other than Reagan) mentioned

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher - "stood by allies", Henry Knox

Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell - "tells kids the truth", Jimmy Stewart, JFK

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali - "patriotic",

Cicero, Austrian economists

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King - "leader",

Benjamin Franklin

Gene and Ginny Pawlenty

Parents -"discipline and love",

US Armed Forces

Killer titbit...

"England is a small island," writes Romney. Oops

Favourite film is Mr Smith Goes To Washington

262m people killed by their own government last century

From 1965 to 2008, US spent $16 trillion fighting poverty

Nearly punched by former WWE wrestler Jesse Ventura

...and the Brit bit


UK treated badly by Obama


Thatcher an inspiration


JM Keynes wreaked damage


Loves philosopher John Locke


Special relationship matters

Literary style

"Clearly not speaking to a television audience, more likely a group of CEOs or a university audience," says English professor David Wallace.

"Attempts at down-home folksiness. Short sentences for 'telling it like it is' effect. Repetition of 'America' is a familiar trick." DW

"Blunt and unabashedly partisan. Brevity mixed with the odd rhetorical flourish, infuses the text with emotion." DW

"A bit schoolmarmish or schoolmasterish in style. Blunt, short clauses, with no concessions to literary style. Some mixed metaphors." DW

"Strong 'pulpit' sentiments, though without the rhythms of Southern pulpit style. Huge sentiments in short sentences." DW

Pundit's view

"It's his economic plan and I'm told he wrote it himself. He's decided his campaign is all about the economy. He's Mr Fixit and he's saying 'I've the ideas to lead America to the Promised Land'." SR

"It's an interesting book. I didn't learn a lot that was new but it fleshed things out, and it made me understand more how her communication skills are her number one asset." SR

"Ron Paul's style isn't to be populist, it's to be Ron Paul, which often means being a commodity politician on the issues. This lays down his positions in bite-sized chunks," says Daniel Stone

"Newt is an intellectual omnivore who has written many books, including historical novels, but this is dog-whistle politics and he is smarter than that," says John Avlon

"There are a lot of personal bits, and he talks about his record leading his state and his love for the country. He's saying 'here are my successes, this is what I can do to reduce the debt'." DS

US sales






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