"Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics!"

Trade Paper – $21.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2489-9
Publication Date
June 2008
Page Count
496 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

"Work Hard, Study . . . and Keep Out of Politics!"

James A. Baker III

White House chief of staff twice over, former secretary of state, past secretary of the treasury, and campaign leader for three different candidates in five successful campaigns--few people have lived and breathed politics as deeply or for as long as James Baker. Now, with candor, down-home Texas storytelling, and more than a few surprises, Baker opens up about his thirty-five years behind the scenes.


Beginning in 1975 with the Ford administration, in a job procured for him by friend and tennis partner George H. W. Bush, Baker was in the thick of American politics. He recounts the inside story of Ford's rejection of Reagan as a running mate in 1976 with the same insight he has into Reagan's rejection of Ford four years later. When the White House was plunged into turmoil after the Reagan assassination attempt, he was there, and his stories take readers deeper into those chaotic days. Baker was on hand for the George H. W. Bush campaign's battle over running mate Dan Quayle and, more recently, he was again on the front row as George W. Bush fought it out in Florida. Spellbinding and frank, his stories are the ones between the lines of our history books.

In this new edition, Baker also responds for the first time in print to the George W. Bush administration's reaction to the Iraq Study Group Report, written with his input.  Baker is very qualified to comment on the political operation of the current administration, and his new writing for this paperback brings the full weight of his experience to bear.

About the Author

James A. Baker, III served as secretary of state and chief of staff to George H. W. Bush, chief of staff and secretary of the treasury to Ronald Reagan, and under-secretary of commerce to Gerald Ford. Since March 2006, he has cochaired the Iraq Study Group.  Baker is also the author of The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1898–1992 and a 1991 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Houston, Texas.


Steve Fiffer is the author, coauthor, or editor of fourteen books, including Tyrannosaurus Sue. In 2001, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in Evanston, IL.




"The stiletto once wielded so deftly by Baker in Washington has not gone dull.  Baker . . .  here offers a more personal account that implicitly contrasts the past with the present, and is the more telling for its restraint."--Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times

"James Baker has written . . . [an] interesting volume about the quarter-century in which he became recognized as one of the country's most shrewdest political operatives. . . . In all, it's a . . . lively read and an interesting counterpoint to the current administration's woes." -- Dallas Morning News

"Baker's book will interest political junkies on both sides of the aisle and remind them that party politics do not require disrespect between opponents." -- Library Journal