W.H. Allen (Random House), $34.95 pb, 589 pp, 9780753540497
Confronting the void that awaits any failed US presidential nominee is a tough gig. Short shrift is given to those who have come so far, only to fall short at the last hurdle. Take Bob Dole, who became a shill for Viagra in the late 1990s after losing to Bill Clinton. God knows what the future holds for Mitt Romney. But there are also success stories. Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide, but his humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts (for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize) have yielded a legacy far better than the one proffered by his one-term tenure.
Then there is Al Gore, a man whose credentials grow with each passing year: the Nobel Peace Prize (for his environmental activism), a Grammy award (for best spoken-word album), and a Primetime Emmy (for Current TV). His concern about global warming was showcased in his bestseller, An Inconvenient Truth (2006), whose companion documentary won an Academy Award. His most recent offering, The Future,is an ambitious attempt to map the scope of technological innovation and its transformation of our political and societal institutions. For Gore, the question is whether we are able to keep pace with these changes, which are inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing.