Historians’ Advice for Dick Cheney on Writing His Memoirs





Former Vice President Dick Cheney has just signed a deal for his memoirs, reportedly worth around $2 million. President Bush, Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice and Henry Paulson are also busy writing their takes on their roles in history. The political memoir, either as a summation of the author’s importance or payback to antagonists, has long been seen as a transition back to private life.

We asked several historians, what’s the best presidential or political memoir (or the worst)? What advice exists for a political memoirist who wants the work to last, given common pitfalls like self-justification, self-aggrandizement, vagueness and boring inside-baseball detail?

* Joseph J. Ellis, historian and author, “Founding Brothers”
* Richard Reeves, presidential biographer
* Jean Baker, historian and author of “James Buchanan”
* David Levering Lewis, historian and biographer
* Alonzo L. Hamby, presidential biographer
* Kathleen Dalton, author, “Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life.”
* Mary Stuckey, professor of communication and political science
* Robert Dallek, presidential biographer
* H.W. Brands, historian

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