I've Seen the Elephant: An Autobiography

I've Seen the Elephant: An Autobiography

I've Seen the Elephant: An Autobiography

I've Seen the Elephant: An Autobiography


In this lively memoir, William B. Saxbe narrates his life's journey from his youth in a small Ohio town to his military career during World War II and Korea and through his career as a public servant in Ohio, in Washington, D. C., and overseas. He regales readers with stories about hopping a freight train when he was in the sixth grade, insights on being elected to the United States Senate, commentary on serving as Nixon's attorney general at the height of the Watergate scandal, and descriptions of life as the U. S. ambassador to India.

This honest, insightful autobiography will delight the scholar and the casual reader. Readers of all disciplines and interests will find fascinating Saxbe's firsthand account of the demise of the Nixon presidency and will appreciate his candid, often earthy, prose.


Who is Bill Saxbe?

It was the mid-fifties. I was a young attorney in Cincinnati, just getting interested in Republican politics, when I was approached to become involved in Bill Saxbe's campaign for Ohio attorney general.

A quick check revealed that Saxbe had alienated many Republicans in his losing effort to Congressman George Bender in the 1954 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. I was fascinated by his boldness. We met shortly thereafter; I liked what I saw and agreed to take a large role as a volunteer in his campaign in Hamilton County, Ohio.

Saxbe defies description, yet I will try. He is a man comfortable with himself, married to Dolly in what can only be described as the perfect partnership. Dolly is special; she is Bill's rudder, his soulmate in every sense of the word; and she was willing to follow Bill's dream wherever it took them.

If he stumbled, she was there. If he misspoke, and he often did, she was there. If he was courageous in his decisions, and he often was, she was there. Dolly and their children were everything to Bill Saxbe. They were his constant companions and provided support and love during one of the most extraordinary journeys a man can travel.

One lesson I learned early. When you walk into his office, locate Bill's position in relation to his spittoon, and never get in the line of fire. Some have, to their dismay.

Aside from the campaign speeches we gave, the rallies we organized and attended, there was the job of hanging signs. It was easy, until we had to nail the double Saxbe signs on the farmers' rail fences in the rural areas. Bill's instructions were to hang the signs quickly and get out of there because "those farmers have guns."

Our reward for that effort was to be invited to the Van Darby Club for the Pure in Heart party where, among other things, they had fried fish that were best described as "barely edible." I haven't eaten fried fish since.

Following Saxbe's election as Ohio attorney general in 1956, I worked in his office as an assistant in worker's compensation matters and tried cases . . .

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