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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (218 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Latimer Narrator: Lincoln Hoppe Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9780739385050
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Despite being raised by reliably liberal parents, Matt Latimer is, from an early age, lured by the upbeat themes of the Reagan Revolution and, in the tradition of Mary Tyler Moore, sets off from the Midwest for the big city, determined to "make it after all."  In Matt's glory-filled daydreams, he will champion smaller government and greater self-sufficiency, lower taxes and stronger defense—and, by the force of his youthful passion, eradicate do-nothing boondoggleism and lead America to new heights of greatness.

But first he has to find a job.

 Like an inside-the-Beltway Dante, Matt chronicles his descent into Washington, D.C., hell, as he snares a series of increasingly lofty—but unsatisfying—jobs with powerful figures on Capitol Hill. One boss can't remember basic facts. Another appears to hide from his own staff, barricading himself in his office. When Fate offers Matt a job as chief speechwriter for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Matt finds he actually admires the man (causing his liberal friends to shake their heads in dismay), his youthful passion is renewed. But Rummy soon becomes a piñata for the press, and the Department of Defense is revealed as alarmingly dysfunctional.

 Eventually, Matt lands at the White House, his heart aflutter with the hope that, here at last, he can fulfill his dream of penning words that will become part of history—and maybe pick up some cool souvenirs. But reality intrudes once again. More like The Office than The West Wing, the nation's most storied office building is a place where the staffers who run the country are in way over their heads, and almost everything the public has been told about the major players—Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Rove—is wrong.

 Both a rare behind-the-scenes account that boldly names the fools and scoundrels, and a poignant lament for the principled conservatism that disappeared during the Bush presidency, Speech-less will forever change the public's view of our nation's capital and the people who joust daily for its power. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • Probably the most important political book of the year… [Matt is] one heck of a great conservative.  It seems to me [it is] getting a very good reaction from conservatives around the country… The last time I read a book that was this funny was Christopher Buckley's White House Mess. Jed Babbin, Editor, Human Events
  • "Latimer comes across as honest...He's a deft writer, and has a good eye and a nice turn of phrase.  You may find yourself surprised by what he has to report.  I was. ... Let me simply admit that I was darned entertained by Speech-less...Latimer's contribution to the [White House memoir] shelf is welcome and worthy.
    Christopher Buckley, bestselling writer and commentator
  • It's a good read… quite frankly, the stories are funny! Pat Buchanan, MSNBC news analyst and contributor
  • Lots of people write accounts of their time at the White House. Virtually no one has done it as well... This book is excellent:  funny, sensible, informative, interesting as hell, and beautifully written. If only there had been more Matt Latimers in the Bush administration. Tucker Carlson, Fox News analyst, former co-host of CNN's "Crossfire"
  • Matt Latimer's hilarious account reads like political satire, except it's all true…Latimer's description of government bureaucracy should be framed and placed in every government office… completely accurate and completely hilarious. Ann Coulter, Best-selling Author and Fox News analyst
     
  • It's fair to say that President Bush left office having disappointed many conservatives, despite his success at keeping the American homeland free from terrorist attack for seven years after 9/11… Mr. Bush said, 'but I redefined the Republican Party.'  That may have been true, but how well did that work out for the Republican Party? John Fund, Editorial Page, The Wall Street Journal
  • [G]ives Republicans in particular a lot to think about if they ever hope to reclaim power…Even more than the messages this book conveys, at its heart this is a compelling story about idols who sometimes disappoint you... Stephen F. Hayes, Senior Writer Weekly Standard, Fox News contributor
  • A lot of really positive things about President Bush in this book…  I like knowing more about what's happening in these halls of power. And as a conservative,… I'm fascinated by this because this can't happen again to the Republican Party.  This party can't go down this road of big spending... That's not conservatism.  Matt Latimer, Speech-less... Be your own judge. Pick it up and check it out and don't believe everything necessarily that you're hearing. Laura Ingraham, Host, The Laura Ingraham Show
  • A lot of conservatives that have read [Matt's] book have called me up and just said, 'Ok, so this was the problem with [Bush] all along.' Joe Scarborough, Host, MSNBC's Morning Joe
  • LEADING CONSERVATIVES PRAISE LATIMER'S
    SPEECH-LESS

    New Book by Former Bush Administration Writer Hailed by Right
  •  

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerri | 2/17/2014

    " Funny, enlightening, quick easy read... Just wish Latimer had gotten into the Ron Paul Revolution :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 2/11/2014

    " Interesting book about small town boy going to Washington DC. Different jobs along the way-I enjoyed his time in Congress...he is pretty frank about some of the senators. Ended up as a speech writer for Bush in the White House. He is a fun author to read if you like sarcasm and I do. Although, it might have made me just a tad bit more cynical than I was. But his sarcasm is not just across the board-there are some he respects and reveals those, too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 2/8/2014

    " What did I learn from this book? That our legislature sounds more like junior high than a governing body. And the White House? Some crazy, competitive frat house. I almost didn't finish it because it made me so very sad. And it's naive to think the Obama White House is much different. Presidents put their buddies in positions of power...and we trust them because... they're the president's buddies? Really? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 2/7/2014

    " Very enjoyable, quick read by a former Rumsfeld and Bush speechwriter. Author has a quick wit and discerning eye for BS, which he seems to be able to separate from his dewy-eyed appreciation for Reaganesque conservatism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 1/19/2014

    " Whereas Noonan had her What I Saw at the Revolution, Latimer has his what in the world am I doing here? Latimer served as a speechwriter in House and Senate offices before moving to the Department of Defense as Donald Rumsfeld's speechwriter and finally to his dream job: presidential speechwriter, during the final years of President Bush's 2nd term. His account is funny, engaging, and sometimes saddening. Latimer clearly respects Rumsfeld a lot, but found himself disillusioned by a White House that lacked principles and coherence. The one strange thing about this tale is that Latimer sometimes presents people he didn't respect as too liberal and presents other such people as too conservative. We are left to wonder what Latimer's principles are, though smaller government certainly seems to be one of them. The whole book moves fast, but the fastest moving part is near the end when Latimer is discussing how the October 2008 economic "bailout" came to be, how few understood it, and how the White House worked to try to explain what it didn't understand. We are left, ultimately, with an unflattering picture of our federal government. Many insider books are flattering to the point of embarrassment and lacking in substance to the point of worthlessness. This is not one of those books. Latimer is blunt and honest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Voracious_reader | 1/19/2014

    " It was funny and I was entertained--more by the personal story than by the politic insights. I'm not sure that Latimer was all that fair or insightful because I don't know enough about the individuals he wrote of (from other multiple sources that is), but I liked the self-deprecating humor, particularly the early portions of his book about his family and childhood. What the latter portions of the book lack is a real sense of humility or modesty and perhaps perspective. Almost all of the speech writing portions concern instances where his advice wasn't accepted and things turned out poorly as a result, or conversely his advice was accepted and things turned out great. He's still one smart and interesting dude though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamarind | 1/18/2014

    " I was first introduced to this book by Matthew Latimer's interview on NPR. I liked the fact that he was a Republican but was still able to give perspective of working for such high powered people. The book chronicles his work on the Hill, the Pentagon (for Rumsfeld), and then in the George W. Bush White House. I would've been just as interested if it was a Democrat giving a critical view of a Democratic presidency. I really appreciated Latimer's favorable view of Rumsfeld, and it helped put him in a different light for me. Honestly, by the time he got to the White House, the book wasn't as interesting, and I feel that's because it was very anticlimatic for Latimer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KZ | 1/15/2014

    " I never thought I would enjoy reading a book about a speechwriter in the Bush whitehouse...but this is a good and interesting read. The writing flows well and grabs you from the start and the path the writer took to realize his dream of being a speechwriter for the whitehouse was a long and winding path that had him working for some weird people in government. A nice insider view of DC "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacky | 1/12/2014

    " I have never read an "insider" book before, so it was verrrrry enlightening. I will have to read more like it. Well, maybe I'd better not as it is so darn depressing to see the state of our leadership! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tobias S. | 1/8/2014

    " A glimpse inside the dysfunction of gov't in general, last administration in particular... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 12/26/2013

    " This is the best staff memoir I have ever read. Unbelievably funny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachael | 12/16/2013

    " Easy-going and witty and a bit scary "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 11/13/2013

    " Just started it and am already hooked. The author is exactly the same age as me, has many of the same memories of the 70s & 80s that I do (he only grew up a 2 hour drive from me) and remembers Ronald Regan with affection. More later. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debi Lee | 10/1/2013

    " READ 1/3 OF THIS. Didn't know most of the characters he was referring to in the campaign... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noel | 3/21/2013

    " fun anecdotes, and really great way to learn some names/stories of people recently and even currently running the show! wish it was a little more positive, but i guess that's just the experience the author had. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 9/6/2012

    " A fast and light read. A not terribly surprising behind-the-scenes look at the internal workings of our government from the prospective of a former speech writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 5/13/2012

    " Despite the fact that the author's favorite politicians are the really heartless frightening conservatives, I enjoyed it and would recommend it. Especially since the author ended his political career by writing it so he needs all the help that he can get with his writing career. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 4/21/2012

    " The first 100 pages were very engaging and funny. Then it became more polemical, though I understand that if one is talking about the Iraq War, opportunities to be engaging and funny are limited. Still, I felt that I was reading a different book by pg. 150, so I stopped. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Grace | 2/29/2012

    " It was good at showing how stupid government really is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy | 12/7/2011

    " Interesting to me more for the tales of how a political speech gets written than how much political dirt was dished. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ABenander | 8/7/2011

    " This book made me happy because I was always secretly afraid that only the Democratic caucus acted like this. Enlightening but depressing. Worth the price if only for the description of W. preparing for the bank bailout speech. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mel | 3/25/2011

    " This book tries so hard to be funny but it just comes out smug. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noah | 3/2/2011

    " Most books written by political insiders take the form of either a hit piece on their colleagues or a fawning love note to them, but this is surprisingly subdued and nonjudgmental. Latimer's writing is good, but I expected a sharper wit from a professional speechwriter. I'd give it a B-. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Tonya | 2/18/2011

    " Not at all what I had anticipated. Instead of an insider's view of working at the White House, it was chance for the conservative author to take shots at "liberals" and democrats. I didn't think it was very interesting, nor well-written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noah | 2/7/2011

    " Most books written by political insiders take the form of either a hit piece on their colleagues or a fawning love note to them, but this is surprisingly subdued and nonjudgmental. Latimer's writing is good, but I expected a sharper wit from a professional speechwriter. I'd give it a B-. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Mel | 1/5/2011

    " This book tries so hard to be funny but it just comes out smug. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 9/15/2010

    " The first 100 pages were very engaging and funny. Then it became more polemical, though I understand that if one is talking about the Iraq War, opportunities to be engaging and funny are limited. Still, I felt that I was reading a different book by pg. 150, so I stopped. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kath | 4/5/2010

    " good look inside the life of a speech writer. interesting look at the last years of the GW Bush administration. Wonderful writing! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacky | 3/31/2010

    " I have never read an "insider" book before, so it was verrrrry enlightening. I will have to read more like it. Well, maybe I'd better not as it is so darn depressing to see the state of our leadership! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ABenander | 3/13/2010

    " This book made me happy because I was always secretly afraid that only the Democratic caucus acted like this. Enlightening but depressing. Worth the price if only for the description of W. preparing for the bank bailout speech. "

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About the Narrator

Lincoln Hoppe is an accomplished actor of stage and screen with several films, plays, television shows, and numerous audiobooks to his credit. His audiobook narrations have earned him nine AudioFile Earphones Awards. His diverse voice characterizations can be heard on animated films, video games, and commercials across the globe. He is a member of the Lost Angeles Comedy Sportz Improv Company.