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The Joy of Sax
by Walt Brasch & America During the Bill Clinton Era

Category: Non-fiction / Historical
384 pages; ISBN: 0967635454

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson


Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, columnist and reviewer for MyShelf.Com and author of the awards-winning “This is the Place” and “Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered”

Walt Brasch has something in common with Bill Clinton. They both play sax. That same Walt Brasch has something in common with me. We’ve both been columnists. What better excuse, then, for him to put together a book of his columns called “The Joy of Sax” and for me to write about it?

The “Joy of Sax” is subtitled “America During the Bill Clinton Era.” It couldn’t have been assembled better by anyone. For one thing, Walt knows his stuff. He covered part of the Clinton-Gore bus tour during their first campaign. For another thing, he has good reporter skills. He also wrote a lot of columns and that makes for a nice, fat book. But mostly it’s because Walt Brasch has a sense of humor. If more people had a sense of humor during the Clinton years, we’d all have had a jollier time. After all, we were all rich compared to the last couple of years. For that matter, if we all had a better sense of humor now….

But I digress. Back to Walt’s book. Sometimes his humor is blatant. Other times he lets you figure out what he’s getting at but it’s still funny as heck. My favorite column is called “Singing Off-Key in the Starr Chamber" and it’s my favorite for the first nine paragraphs that go like this:

“When President John Adams imposed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798…and violated the First Amendment, no one required him to testify before a special inquisitor.

“When President Abraahm Lincoln suspended several Constitutional rights, no one required him to testify before a special inquisitor.

When President U.S. Grant pleaded ignorance that his own cabinet was one of the most corrupt in history….”

The next paragraphs include heinous “violations” by Warren G. Harding, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and the first George Bush. I was rolling in the aisle and Brasch was only being droll. His “hilarious” hadn’t even begun!

If you don’t see that Brasch is at least entertaining, then maybe you don’t really need to read this book. Mmmmm. On the other hand, if you don’t see that, then maybe you are the one who does need to read his book.

Walter Brasch is opinionated, logical, and broad-minded. None of these qualities is a crime. The do all help to make this book a kick for anyone with a political hair in his head.

(Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, “This is the Place”
has been honored eight times since its release. A story from her new book,
“Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered” won the
Red Sky Press Award before it was published.”
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