Books: The Jane Austen of Speeches

WHAT I SAW AT THE REVOLUTION by Peggy Noonan

Random House; 353 pages; $19.95

Do you remember one vivid phrase or image from George Bush's recent State of the Union message? Probably not. And a big reason, quite simply, is that Peggy Noonan did not write it. For if words are the weapons of politics, then Noonan -- whether nervously chain-smoking at her computer in Ronald Reagan's White House or minding her baby son at home as she created the "kinder, gentler" persona for George Bush -- commanded a battalion.

Perhaps Ted Sorensen, with his trademark verb-first, ask-not formulations, might rival...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!