I Coulda Been a Cowboy But My Boots Didn't Fit

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AuthorHouse, Sep 19, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 348 pages
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   These 76 memoirs follow one of Washington's most enduring and well-traveled ghost writers through 60 countries and "what seemed like a thousand years of change." J. Don Looper begins his story in the early 1920's, a time he says had more in common with the Middle Ages than with the world we live in now. He draws on a Dust Bowl childhood and personal adventures in journalism and public affairs to illustrate "the rush to modern times" that began in the 20's. Many essays stem from cabinet-level missions abroad and staff writing for top officials in eight presidencies.     Looper's early years in Oklahoma are reflected in such memories as "Born on the Old Chisholm Trail" and "Life, Death, and the Jackass Farm." A life in the arts and the media is described in "Nudes with Attitude" and "Whatever Became of Type Lice?" Years of overseas travel culminated in such essays as "Me and Air Force One" and "My Audience with the Pope." Topical issues come to life in "Midnight in Tehran: and "Farewell to Hong Kong." Some of the book's characters still make news -- Bob Dole and Henry Kissinger for example. Others are gone -- Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and Richard Helms. But the  book is also peopled with lesser-known characters who made their own mark on modern times.     The oversize boots in this story were real and memorable, but the author sees them as something more, a metaphor for "movin' on" after the Great Depression. Like the boots, the place and time were ill-fitting for him and some others of his generation. The author moved on to new lives in Washington, Milwaukee, Key West, and the world at large. The title of the book asserts that theme: "I Coulda Been a Cowboy but My Boots Didn't Fit." 

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About the author (2007)

 "It was like riding shotgun," J. Don Looper says, "I was the guy on the other seat hoping the Indians did not attack and the Wells Fargo box arrived unplundered." Looper is author of a new book of memoirs, "I Coulda Been a Cowboy but My Boots Didn't Fit," which recalls a career riding alongside great events and people as ghost writer, media foil, and troubleshooter. He left a Dust Bowl childhood for a life in journalism, public affairs, and international politics. He traveled in 60 countries and wrote for newspapers as far away as Hong Kong.     When Henry Kissinger called a World Food Conference to  confront a global hunger panic in 1974, Looper went to Rome as a U.S. delegate. When Jimmy Carter restored diplomatic relations with China, Looper was assigned to Beijing for the first U.S. trade show. When Ronald Reagan okayed a second grain deal with the Russians in 1982, Looper went to London to handle the media crush. He accompanied more than a dozen V.I.P missions abroad and sat with foreign leaders as distant as President Marcos in Manila and Premier Kosygin in the Kremlin. He wrote speeches for top officials in every administration from Truman to Reagan.     Looper is a native Oklahoman, son of a cattle trader and auction operator. He completed journalism degrees at Oklahoma State University and advanced studies in international politics at The American University in Washington. He wrote for Oklahoma newspapers, the Sioux City stockyards, a Milwaukee advertising agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He worked as a Washington consultant and as Washington correspondent for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). He was for 13 years public information director for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. He now free-lances near Tampa FL, where he lives with his wife, Pat.

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