Friday, November 09, 2007

Willie Brown and SF State


I came upon this news item in the San Francisco Chronicle: Willie Brown is setting up a leadership center at San Francisco State University, his alma mater and my current (part-time) employer. According to the story, the center's focus on local politics will make it virtually unique.

Most of what I know about Willie Brown I learned from the James Richardson (no relation) bio, which the University of California Press published in 1996. The year before, UC Press also published one of my favorite political biographies, Rage for Justice: The Passion and Politics of Phillip Burton. That one made a big impression on me. It must have been tough to write because Burton's character never really develops over the course of the book; he always was who he was, a ferocious political battler. As a character, he's a bit like Achilles, if you can imagine Achilles drinking tumblers of vodka and yelling at people at the House of Prime Rib.

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