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Vernon Can Read! A Memoir

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Jr. Jordan and Vernon E.

While Jordan's autobiography garnered interest from the moment its publication was announced, its ultimate form surprises. Disappointment awaits those expecting Clinton/ Lewinsky dirt, since the book "effectively ends in the 1980s. All that has happened … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Vernon E., Jr. Jordan
Publisher: PublicAffairs
1 review about Vernon Can Read! A Memoir

Exceptional "Reading" Skills

  • Nov 26, 2001
Until reading this uncommonly personal and revealing memoir, I knew very little about Jordan the human being although I was already well-aware of his public career which includes leadership positions in the NAACP, the United Negro College Fund, and the Urban League as well as subsequent prominence in the private sector as (for lack of a better term) a "powerbroker" in Washington, D.C. while continuing to serve on the governing boards of several major corporations. Unfairly, I think, he is most widely recognized as the friend to whom then President Clinton turned for assistance when attempting to help Monica Lewinsky obtain a job after that scandal began to unfold. In this memoir, however, Jordan limits his attention to the years ending in 1981 when he resigned from the Urban League. Whatever differences there may be between him and Jack Welch (obviously there are several), both men credit their mothers with giving them the values, determination, and encouragement needed as they took on progressively greater challenges while encountering progressively more formidable obstacles. I was especially interested in Jordan's straightforward explanation of his differences with other black leaders, notably his determination to work within the economic system (capitalism) to achieve social and political objectives. He also disagreed with those black leaders who supported the Palestinian cause and thereby exacerbated black-Jewish relations. Jordan seems to be a consummate pragmatist, determined to produce desired results (e.g. a higher standard of living and a better quality of life for all have-nots, whatever their race) rather than merely indulge in self-serving rhetoric and public posturing (e.g. conducting press conferences in conjunction with crises to generate personal publicity). In this book, he shares dozens of anecdotes without at any time seeming self-serving. "Vernon can read!" but he also knows how to forge alliances, to open and then nourish channels of communication and cooperation, and -- in process --to celebrate his own humanity in ways and to an extent no resume could possibly indicate. If and when he deems it appropriate and is so inclined, I hope Jordan will shift his attention to the last 20 years and again discuss his experiences, not as a public figure but as a man with much of value to share.

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