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Where the Evidence Leads An Autobiography

Thornburgh, Dick

Published by University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003
ISBN 10: 0822942208 / ISBN 13: 9780822942207
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Where the Evidence Leads An Autobiography

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)


2003 University of Pittsburgh Press; Hardcover in Dust Jacket; INSCRIBED by AUTHOR; As New Copy!!! Dust Jacket Protected in Mylar Cover; 1.34 x 9.5 x 6.42 Inches; 386 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 3116

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Synopsis: Perhaps best known as the attorney general who returned respectability to the office in the late 1980s, Dick Thornburgh has been a key participant in and observer of American political and legal life for more than three decades. In Where the Evidence Leads he candidly reveals the joys, frustrations, mistakes, and accomplishments of his career in public service.

In 1964, frustrated that the radical right threatened to take over the Republican Party-to its detriment-Thornburgh, then a lawyer in downtown Pittsburgh, began complaining to anyone who would listen about the problems with the GOP. When finally challenged to do something about it, he set out on a course that would ultimately take him to the highest corridors of power in the United States.

As a federal prosecutor, Thornburgh quickly became known as a racket-buster, diligently fighting organized crime and official corruption. Using the same no-nonsense approach, he describes, in direct, honest prose, his own rise through the Republican ranks. The only member of his party to have been elected to two successive terms as governor of Pennsylvania, he reveals the details of a political campaign that few expected him to win. After leaving that office in 1987, his sterling reputation led to the directorship of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Shortly thereafter President Reagan asked him to join his cabinet, replacing outgoing Attorney General Ed Meese.

Thornburgh's calm, cool-headed response to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, occurring mere weeks after his gubernatorial inauguration, is still held up as a model of emergency management. His ability to objectively analyze situations pervades Where the Evidence Leads, whether describing his early missteps in helping to fill positions in the Justice Department under President Bush, or the grudging admiration he exhibits toward his opponent's campaign managers James Carville and Paul Begala during his failed bid for the late H. John Heinz III's seat in the U.S. Senate.

In these pages he also reveals the playful side of his personality, long known to friends and colleagues, but often hidden from the public: his raucous, Louis Armstrong-like rendition of "Mack the Knife" at a retreat for members of his law firm; his delight in the humor (and hard work) of his first campaign, where he taught voters how to remember his name in a region rife with alternate spellings with the slogan "Thornburgh as in Pittsburgh;" the simply joys received from his lifelong love of baseball.

In fact, the Pittsburgh Pirates' dramatic pennant race and 1960 World Series win would prove to be a sustaining force during the darkest moment of Thornburgh's life, for it was in that summer that his first wife was killed and his then-infant son, Peter, was grievously injured in an automobile accident. He never shies away from revealing the painful details of this ordeal, nor the religious and familial sources of his strength during those days. Nor does he fail to recount the personal struggles he and his present wife faced in fighting for equal rights and opportunities for Peter, culminating in his effective advocacy to help enact the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A strong proponent of civil rights and racial equality; a tireless spokesman for the GOP tenets of the individual, the free-enterprise system, fiscal responsibility, strong state and local governments, and a combination of toughness and compassion at home and abroad; a strict adherent to the overriding importance of the rule of law; these are but some of the ways Dick Thornburgh defines himself and his life in Where the Evidence Leads.

Product Description: Set in any era, Dick Thornburgh's brilliant career would merit study and retelling. He was the first Republican elected to two successive terms as governor of Pennsylvania (1979-87). He served in the United States Department of Justice under five presidents, including three years as attorney general in the cabinets of Presidents Reagan and Bush (1988-91). As undersecretary-general of the United Nations (1993), he was the highest ranking American in the organization and a strong voice for reform. Thornburgh's twenty-five-year path through the highest levels of local, state, and national government has coincided with some of the most compelling events of the American century. In this book, he follows his well-known mantra to pursue the trail of evidence wherever it leads as he candidly presents both the public and private stories of a life fully engaged with public service to his country. Nationally, Thornburgh is best remembered for his three years as attorney general, when he managed some of the most vexing legal matters of the modern age: the Savings and Loan and BCCI scandals; controversy over the "Iraqgate" and INSLAW investigations and the Wichita abortion clinic protests; and prosecutions of Michael Milken, Manuel Noriega, and Marion Barry, as well as those involved in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Rodney King beating. As governor of Pennsylvania, he faced the nation's worst nuclear accident, weeks after his inauguration in 1979. Thornburgh's cool-headed response to the Three Mile Island disaster is often studied as a textbook example of emergency management. He recounts his efforts to transform the state's ailing smokestack economy and the controversy over "Thornfare," an early welfare-to-work program. His historic 1992 battle against Harris Wofford for the late John Heinz III's senate seat is one of several political campaigns, vividly recalled, that reveal the inner workings of the commonwealth's political machinery. Thornburgh reveals painful details of his personal life, including the 1960 automobile accident that claimed the life of his first wife and permanently disabled his infant son. He presents a frank analysis of the challenges of raising a family as a public figure, and tells the moving story of his personal and political crusade that culminated in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

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