"A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future" Book Review

Review of Jennifer Granholm's new book


Published:

 

A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future, by Jennifer Granholm and Dan Mulhern (Public Affairs Books. $27.99).

Years ago, campaigning in Michigan against Walter Mondale, President Ronald Reagan quipped, “If his administration were a novel, you’d have to read from the back to the front to get a happy ending.” Thanks to the recession and the near-collapse of the domestic auto industry, that was also true of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s two terms.

Great things were expected of the state’s first female executive when she took office in 2003. A charismatic speaker, she was being touted for national office before she was even sworn in for her first term. Eight years later, she left the governorship and the state, deeply unpopular with voters and bitterly mocked for her infamous comment that the economic prosperity of her second term would “blow you away.”

Less than a year after her move to California, Granholm is out with a book about her years as governor. Officially, this is a joint effort by Granholm and her husband, Daniel Granholm Mulhern, although it’s written in her voice. As political memoirs go, it’s odd — partly a polemical rant justifying her administration and policies and partly a portrait of a marriage strained by pressures and professional jealousy.

What it’s not, is an accurate, comprehensive history. There’s no mention of the time she appeared on stage, beaming, with a professional con man to whom her administration had just awarded millions in tax credits. Also missing: any word of her role in the disastrous attempt to rig the 2008 Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton. The characters speak in oddly stilted dialogue that seems a mix of Ayn Rand and psychobabble: “His words finally pierced my hard, self-pitying armor. It was my ego that was sucking me down, my ego that had always been rewarded and fueled by success.”  

The book is crafted to show Granholm standing alone against a hostile world, fighting to keep jobs and reinvent Michigan’s economy.

That said, there are worthwhile aspects, particularly the final chapters, in which she (or they) discuss lessons learned in competing for jobs in a global economy. Clearly, Granholm battled long and earnestly to cope with economic problems for which she was sometimes unfairly blamed. But those seeking a balanced history of these times will have to await a future book.


If you enjoy the monthly content in Hour Detroit, "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Cybelle Codish Takes Her Stills of Native Americans to the Smithsonian

When the Detroit-based freelance photographer was asked by a friend to shoot stills for a documentary being made on Native-American traditions in New Mexico, Codish saw it as an opportunity to see culture through a different lens.

By the Numbers

Fast facts about some of Michigan’s most iconic brands.

Triple Play

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life — even (or maybe especially) when it comes to exercise.

Two Funny: Keegan-Michael Key

Shrine High and Second City Detroit alum Keegan-Michael Key shines on Comedy Central duo’s ‘Key & Peele.'

Mauna Loa, 1967

The Way It Was
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. An Animated Life
    As Rob Paulsen prepares to publish his memoir, the Hollywood veteran and voice behind some of the...
  2. An Hour With ... Teddy Dorsette III
    President, Detroit Black Deaf Advocates
  3. State of the Arts
  4. Gold Standard
    Tucked into an industrial strip in Ann Arbor, a new restaurant offers French fare
  5. A New Noodle Shop on the Block
    Midtown Detroit welcomes Urban Ramen
  6. Drink Beer, Do Good
    Local breweries and pubs jump on the charity bandwagon
  7. Business Class
    Trim suits, creative layers, and crisp white shirts - Fall's wardrobe essentials are fitting for...
  8. In Tune
    Influenced by its storied past, Willis Show Bar sets the tone for a nostalgic sound
  9. Recipe: Roast Boneless Pork Loin With Tart Cherry Chutney
    Executive chef at Ford’s Garage, Darin Thompson’s boneless pork loin marvel
  10. 13th Annual Best of Detroit Party
    On June 29, Hour Detroit brought the Best of Detroit issue to life at the 13th annual Best of...