This Country: My Life in Politics and History (Hardcover)
A sweeping memoir of American politics and history from Chris Matthews, New York Times bestselling author and former host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.
In This Country, Chris Matthews offers a panoramic portrait of post–World War II America through the story of his remarkable life and career. It is a story of risk and adventure, of self-reliance and service, of loyalty and friendship. It is a story driven by an abiding faith in our country.
Raised in a large Irish-Catholic family in Philadelphia at a time when kids hid under their desks in atomic war drills, Chris’s life etched a pattern: take a leap, live an adventure, then learn what it means. As a young Peace Corps graduate, Chris moved to DC and began knocking on doors on Capitol Hill. With dreams of becoming what Ted Sorensen had been for Jack Kennedy, Chris landed as a staffer to Utah Senator Frank Moss, where his eyes were opened to the game of big-league politics.
In the 1970s, Matthews mounted a campaign for Congress as a Democratic maverick running against Philadelphia’s old political machine. He didn’t win the most votes, but his grit put him on the path to a top job in the White House. As a speechwriter for President Carter, Matthews witnessed the triumphs and tragedies of that administration; from the diplomatic brilliance of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty to the disaster of the Iran hostage crisis. After Carter’s defeat, Chris became chief of staff to legendary Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, a perch that gave him an on-the-job PhD in American politics during the Reagan years.
Chris then leapt to the other side of the political matrix as a columnist and reporter. For the San Francisco Examiner, he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa, the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, and every American presidency from Reagan to George W. Bush. Chris would go on to pioneer cable news with a fast-paced, no-nonsense television program. His show, Hardball with Chris Matthews, would become a political institution for twenty years.
As Chris charts his political odyssey, he paints an energetic picture of a nation searching for its soul. He reflects with grace and wisdom, showcasing the grand arc of the American story through one life dedicated to its politics.
About the Author
Chris Matthews is a distinguished Professor of American Politics and Media at Fulbright University Vietnam. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit; Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero; Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked; Kennedy & Nixon; and Hardball. For twenty years, he anchored Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC
“This Country is the story of America, seen through the eyes of a superb political analyst and cable news pioneer. This heartfelt, cinematic memoir is a must read for anyone who loves politics and the American story.”—Andrea Mitchell, host of Andrea Mitchell Reports
“This absorbing memoir reminds us that travail in our politics and in our culture is perennial—and so is hope, and light, and faith. This grand book is a personal story that resonates far beyond the life of a single man, and one that should be read and long remembered.”—Jon Meacham, author of His Truth Is Marching On
“A memoir written with the dynamism and vividness of a gripping novel. Matthews’s patriotic fervor for American Democracy is nothing short of intoxicating.”—Douglas Brinkley, author of Cronkite and Professor of History at Rice University.
“Chris Matthews has written a love letter to this country through the lens of his own extraordinary life; from Capitol police officer to presidential speechwriter; aide to one of our most powerful House speakers to nightly pugilist in the wild world of cable TV news. His is an extraordinary journey that in many ways is one we all share.”—Joy Reid, host of The ReidOut and author of The Man Who Sold America
“In this rollicking memoir, we get to share Chris’ decades of passion for this country and its politics. Reading the book, I felt like I was getting to hang out with Chris, which is a delightful experience.”—Walter Isaacson, author of The Code Breaker and Steve Jobs
The essence of this passionate memoir comes in a single line in the penultimate chapter: “It was my country’s history, and mine personally.” Chris was a part of history. Reading his words, you’ll not only hear Chris’s distinctive voice, but you’ll understand the man who helped shape the political conversation of a nation.”—Jonathan Capehart, host of The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart
“With this absorbing book, Chris Matthews tells us about the aspirations, life experiences and people that have helped to make him one of the most formidable and influential observers of American politics we have seen in modern times.”—Michael Beschloss author of Presidents at War and NBC News Presidential Historian
“Quintessentially American” —Policy Magazine