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Heard and Overheard:
Words Wise (and Otherwise) with Politicians, Statesmen, and Real People
by James W. Symington

Available at Amazon

Diplomat, politician, lawyer and musician, James W. Symington has been all these and more, a public servant who served America when public service was considered a noble calling.  Heard and Overheard is a medley of vignettes—many of them about key moments in history—told from his perspectives as a congressman, diplomat and the right-hand man of one Ambassador, an Attorney General and the President of the United States. It is illustrated with photographs, some published for the first time.

Symington has a rare trait for Washington: he listens. Working for Robert Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and John Hay Whitney, he was present—often a participant—as national and world events unfolded. Witnessing history from the New Deal to President Obama’s Cuba initiative, Symington recorded remarks “ranging in propriety from blasphemy to prayer.” To read them is to relive great days, meet the giants (and villains) of our time, and savor a narrative that is epic in scope, gem-like in brilliance, and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

"Symington…is one of the best storytellers in the world, a distinction he shares with his fellow Missourian, Mr. Mark Twain …. You name it, he was there."

--Christopher Buckley

Excerpt from the forward

"Funny, poignant, and enlightening.... Whether read quickly or leisurely, these remembrances captivate and entertain."

--Forward Magazine


"Jimmy Symington is a one man institution, and one of the better ones at that…. And now he has given us this memoir-for-the-ages, a splendid read, by a splendid guy."

--President George H. W. Bush


“Jim may be the wittiest blueblood who ever served in public office. He is the quintessential aristocrat, yet overcame the handicap of his pedigreed birth with music and mirth.… Readers will delight in his puckish tidbits from the fast lane.”

--President Johnson’s daughter Linda Byrd Robb


“A rare behind-the-scenes look at the most colorful characters on the world stage…. Intriguing and often hilarious stories abound…. Don’t miss a page! 

--William H. Webster, former CIA and FBI director

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