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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

July 18, 1993|CHRIS GOODRICH

THE FIRST TO SPEAK: A Woman of Color Inside the White House by Kristin Clark Taylor (Doubleday: $22.50; 303 pp.). As a former mid-level official in the Bush Administration, the White House's Director of Media Relations, Kristin Clark Taylor, isn't in much of a position to write a tell-all book about her three years serving George Bush. It's pretty clear, however, that Clark wouldn't dish significant dirt even if she had it by the bucketful, for she "wasn't raised that way"; the seventh and youngest child of a highly successful, highly religious African-American family from Detroit--she and her siblings collectively have earned 17 university degrees--Clark sees herself as a role model for all black women. And she is at that, largely because she seems to have been able to strike a good balance between her private and professional lives: "The First to Speak" is as much about Clark's parents and her own children as about the White House--where her duties and crises, truth be told, aren't particularly interesting. The one surprise in this book is how well George Bush comes across, his frequent inarticulateness and unfocused energy humanizing the presidency for generally out-of-the-loop staffers like Clark. Bush, bless him, didn't even seem to mind when Clark's 18-month-old son, at the conclusion of an ill-considered horsy ride, spit up in his hair . . . but then again, Bush was only vice president at the time.

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