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