Think about your closest friends. You love them, and you trust them, but imagine bringing them along with you to the White House as your Secretary of State, and later confiding in them as your Chief of Staff?
It might sound like a reach for those of us without any interest in setting up shop in The Oval Office (and with friends who make better shopping buddies than foreign affairs advisers), but President George H.W. Bush did just that with his own confidant, Houston native James A. Baker III.
Author and cybersecurity specialist Charles Denyer wanted to learn more about this unique friendship between Bush and Baker, so he spent the last three years interviewing those closest to them in order to tell the entire tale.
“I had always heard of Bush and Baker as Houston icons,” he tells Houstonia, “and, as I began writing, I felt like I could illustrate the story in a way that had not been told before."
With direct insight into what fueled the dynamic friendship between these political giants, Denyer’s new book, Texas Titans: George H.W. Bush and James A. Baker, III: A Friendship Forged in Power, presents a closer look at the extraordinary friendship that first began on the tennis courts of the Houston Country Club more than 50 years ago.
Before Texas Titans hits shelves this week, we chatted with Denyer about giving back to Houston through the written word and earning legitimacy when penning biographies.
What inspired you to write Texas Titans?
Most people know about these titans individually, but they don’t know the intimate story of both their personal friendship and political relationship. I thought it would be a story of interest to Texans, and many others who are intrigued by politics. As a Texan, it was also important for me to give back to the city I grew up in, Houston, and this look at the friendship between two of Houston’s most prized citizens was the perfect opportunity.
Any interesting stories from your time researching and interviewing for this book?
Throughout my research, I had the opportunity to speak to some fascinating and consequential people such as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, and, of course, James Baker, which was the most memorable interview. All of these men were all inextricably linked to the book and these two titans. Overall, it was amazing to hear the firsthand insight into this incredible friendship and its impact on the world.
What advice would you give someone interested in writing non-fiction, biographies in particular?
When writing about a person, the most important element is legitimacy. Your story will be recognized for its accuracy, so it’s imperative to get the true story. Reach out to as many principals and close professional and personal associates as possible. This will give the story credibility, and you can really share an inside look into that person’s life.
Texas Titans will be available November 17. $29. Pre-order the book at amazon.com.