Faithful readers of this blog know that while the content of Ms. Bumiller's nearly-released and long-anticipated bio of the fabulous Condi has never been in doubt, the title of the work was a matter of frequent speculation around here.
When the news of Ms. Bumiller's leave of absence to write her book broke, I was understandably upset to be losing her contribution to the country's political reporting scene - especially since she wrote the always wonderful White House Letter column, which went on haitus with its creator. But I dug through the sadness and the Fact-esque archives to come up with a preview of what to expect when the book hit the shelves and, to dull the pain, began to (helpfully) suggest titles for the coming love letter.
Here are what I came up with: Condiriffic!; Devotion: Condi's Story; Condi: A Fabulous Life; (SO close!) and the all-purpose Hero!
There was Investing in Freedom, the Story of a Girl Diplomat, when she so movingly assured America that Iraq was worth the lives and money that we've "invested" in it.
Girl Talk: the True Story of One Woman's Rise to the Heels of Power and What He Meant When He Said That: What it Takes to Stand by Your Man When Your Man is a Moron, when it looked like Marcus Marby would beat Ms. Bumiller to the punch.
And finally, Hiding Truth's Pants: Working in the George W. Bush White House, when yet another Condi bio came out before Ms. Bumiller's - that one snappily entitled Dr. Rice is in the House.
And so after nearly a year of waiting to see what title Ms. Bumiller and her publishers would come up with, you can imagine my crushing disappointment to see that it's Condoleezza Rice: An American Life. Just awful. We've already had Reagan: An American Life and Ben Franklin: An American Life. Madonna even used the cliche. There is that great radio show This American Life that's been on forever, so that's cool, but I can't shake the fact that when I first read the title of Bumiller's book, all I could think of was that little immigrant mouse, Fievel. At least he's adorable.
Condoleezza Rice: An American Life doesn't hit the stores until Decemeber 11, but you can get a good idea about what you'll get by reading the adapted excerpts of the book, which ran in the NYT yesterday as news stories just in time to puff both Ms. Bumiller's book and Dear Leader's legacy-seeking Annapolis Peace Talks. Be charmed as you read about the close friendship between the fabulous Condi and BushCo and how it seems to keep her believing that anyone in the White House pays attention to what she says. Don't miss the thrilling history of the administration's disastrous handling of the region and how all of the mistakes and calamities have somehow led to Annapolis, where, if the bar is lowered enough and the definition of success completely re-written, a pony will be pulled from the ruins.
Personally, I'm simply hoping that we'll be seeing Ms. Bumiller return to the NYT full time in 2008 in time for the primaries and the general election. I've missed her.