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Thursday, February 9

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Reviews Thu Sep 17 2009

Blago's "Apology"

The Reader has an interesting critique of Rod Blagojevich's The Governor, comparing the Gov-turned-author not with the Shakepearean heroes he has identified with, but with the classical Greek writers Socrates and Plato:

But the suggestion that Blagojevich has an elusive grasp of the facts or that he lacks the literary chops to write a great memoir is really beside the point. Of course the book isn't good by any conventional standard--what do you expect from an impeached politico desperate for cash while awaiting his corruption trial? But that doesn't mean it's not interesting. I'd even go so far as to call it important.

Part of The Governor's problem is that it's been miscast. It's not a memoir so much as it is an apology--an apology not in the sense of a statement of remorse but in the classical sense of a statement of defense against accusers. Arguably the finest example of an apologia is the one presented by Socrates, and written down by Plato, when Socrates was on trial for corrupting the youth of Athens with his irreverence and refusal to worship the state-sanctioned gods.

The review does well to judge the book both within its literary parameters and for its ability to convincingly portray Blagojevich's case. It's really quite a well-written review.

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