Life Among the Cannibals: A Political Career, a Tea Party Uprising, and the End of Governing As We Know It (Hardcover)

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A revealing memoir of how Washington is changing---and not for the better

During a storied thirty-year career in the U.S. Senate, Arlen Specter rose to Judiciary Committee chairman, saved and defeated Supreme Court nominees, championed NIH funding, wrote watershed crime laws, always staying defiantly independent, "The Contrarian," as Time magazine billed him in a package of the nation's ten-best Senators. It all ended with one vote, for President Obama's stimulus, when Specter broke with Republicans to provide the margin of victory to prevent another Depression.

Shunned by the GOP faithful, Specter changed parties, giving Democrats a sixty-vote supermajority and throwing Washington into a tailspin. He kept charging, taking the first bursts of Tea Party fire at public meetings on Obama's health care--reform plan. Undaunted, Specter cast the key vote for the health plan.

In Life Among the Cannibals, Specter candidly describes the battles that led to his party switch, his tough transition, the unexpected struggles and duplicity that he faced, and his tumultuous campaign and eventual defeat in the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic primary.

Taking us behind the scenes in the Capitol, the White House, and on the campaign trail, he shows how the rise of extremists---in both parties---has displaced tolerance with purity tests, purging centrists, and precluding moderate, bipartisan consensus.

About the Author


Senator Arlen Specter (1930-2012) was Pennsylvania's senator from 1981 to 2011. Having been a Republican since 1965, he switched to the Democratic Party in 2009. Throughout his Senate career, he served on the Judiciary Committee, which he chaired in the 109th Congress (2005--2007). Among his many other Senate duties, he was also a chairman of Intelligence Committee, the Veterans' Affairs Committee, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the Ten Best Senators.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Specter grew up in Kansas, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania, served as an editor of the law journal at the Yale Law School, and was a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Arlen Specter died in October 2012.



CHARLES ROBBINS served as Senator Specter’s communications director in his Senate office and on his presidential campaign. He is the author of the forthcoming novel The Accomplice as well as coauthor, with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, of the forthcoming The U.S. Senate, and coauthor of Senator Specter’s Passion for Truth. A former newspaper reporter and Navy reserve officer, he is a graduate of Princeton University, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and the master of fine arts program at Queens University of Charlotte. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For…


“Worth reading because it might be a long time (if ever) before somebody so unarguably knowledgeable will exercise such candor about partisan American politics.” —Philadelphia Daily News

“Specter ... offers his knowledgeable, withering critique of brutal partisanship in national politics.” —Publishers Weekly

“A highly readable battle cry from the moderate center—and timely, given the tenor of politics today.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A remarkable work, as Specter courageously chastises the Republican Party for its fixation on litmus tests. Specter -- a veteran Republican who left the party in April 2009 -- is right to warn of the risks posed to America by hyper-partisanship. … An impassioned call for the return of moderation to the party” —D.R. Tucker, The Huffington Post

“Written in Senator Specter's trademark candor, Never Give In is a compelling tale of survival---both personal and political---from one of the Senate’s most independent voices.” —Vice President Joe Biden on Never Give In

Never Give In brims with the singular tenacity and humor that have characterized Arlen Specter's nearly thirty years in the United States Senate. This book is both an entertaining read and an unflinching account of the experience of fighting an intensely personal battle on a highly public stage.” —Michael J. Fox

“He knows a thing or two about illness and politics. It's a hell of a read.” —Larry King on Never Give In

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250003683
ISBN-10: 1250003687
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: March 27th, 2012
Pages: 384
Language: English