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Book Review 

by Leah Sottile

As the old chestnut goes, you should never judge a book by its cover -- but in this case, that's OK. In fact, just looking at the cover of Howard Dean's Winning Back America can tell you nearly everything that Dean discusses in its pages. And by looking at Dean's bulleted points on the back cover of the book, you can see the quality of writing in the book: choppy, short and written so that anyone can understand it.

Winning Back America is essentially a comprehensive guide to Dean's presidential campaign. The book lists his experiences and successes as the long-time governor of Vermont, claiming that these accomplishments clearly show that he is the best candidate for president. Dean takes the time to address every issue of interest to voters, running the gamut of issues from education, Medicare and corrections, to environmental purity and quality of life.

Aside from putting his campaign promises in the clearest of English for everyone to understand, the tight-collared, red-faced Democrat actually writes a mini-autobiography. Most intriguingly, Dean talks about his career as a doctor. It sheds light on a side of Dean that the television cameras don't see, and shows that the politician does truly care about the well-being of Joe and Jane Six-Pack.

He continues to fill Winning Back America with life stories that everyone can relate to: meeting his wife, growing up in New York, going to medical school and surviving through the tragic death of his brother. While they make the book easier to read, it's hard to think his stories are not contrived. Sure, Dean isn't a storybook writer -- he's a doctor. But even with that said, his rose-colored tales don't tell much more about the Dean than anyone would already assume of a 56-year-old white man involved in politics.

While his attempt at letting the American people get to know him through his book falls feebly short, you'll still put down his book knowing more than you'd ever wanted to about Dean's political views and victories, and you'll be surer than ever that he wants nothing more than to unseat the current man in office.

Publication date: 1/22/04

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long reads

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