From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
As a top aide to House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Matthews was an eyewitness to the accord that O'Neill and President Ronald Reagan managed to forge in the 1980s, despite their polar-opposite political convictions. Reagan, the conservative former California governor, was a Washington outsider, while O'Neill was a consummate insider, with 28 years on the hill by the time Reagan took office in 1980. The California conservative and the Boston liberal were iconic figures with strong convictions, political savvy, and Irish charm that helped them bridge the gap to deliver on issues including welfare, taxes, covert military operations, and Social Security. Following the assassination attempt on Reagan, O'Neill was the first person to be admitted to the president's bedside for a private visit, and it was O'Neill whom Reagan tapped to hand-deliver a letter asking Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for a meeting that led to the end of the Cold War. Political commentator Matthews details their different backgrounds and the stumbles and ultimate successes that brought both men to Washington, where they were able to put aside their differences to govern the nation.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist