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Margaret Carlson -- widely read Time columnist, regular CNN panelist, political insider, and hostess of A-list but scarcely traditional Washington dinners -- has been commenting on American life for over a decade. In Anyone Can Grow Up, she expands on her writings about presidents, politics, morals, children, family life, and lessons from her own life.
In the section entitled "Presidential Material," Carlson reflects on what it takes to be president by looking at those who choose to pursue the office (and by extension, those, like her, who choose to cover the pursuit). She looks at the hard facts (offices held, speeches given, money raised) and the soft, sometimes determinative, ones (how the candidates talk and look, how they perform under pressure, who they marry and divorce when no one is looking, and how they get into -- and out of -- scrapes). The best man doesn't always win. That's why those who've lost, and those who almost run but don't, are covered as well. Bush Sr. and son, and Clinton in his scandalous term, are here. Carlson also takes a look at those whom have thought of running, like Donald Trump, those who America wanted to run, like Colin Powell, and those who've run and lost, like John McCain.
Carlson draws from her own life in the "Family Matters" section as well, commenting on subjects relating to children, women, and men -- from abortion to balancing work and family, from feminism to sexual harassment.
Finally, in the last section, we read about what makes us who we are and what makes us do what we do. From breaking down how congressmen make money on the side to what cost Newt Gingrich his job, from days in court trying the Menendez brothers to a memorable three-hour lunch with Katharine Hepburn that didn't turn out the way she imagined, Carlson finds the strength of character, or lack of it, in Americans famous and not.
Carlson gets as many as a hundred letters a week from readers who say, "That's exactly what I was thinking." In the vein of Anna Quindlen, Ellen Goodman, and Bill O'Reilly, here is a wise and witty book from a writer who knows what makes us tick.