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The West Wing: The Official Companion [Hardcover]

Warner Bros.
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 8 2002 Pocket Books Media Tie-In

A dark-horse candidate comes from behind to win his party's nomination. As if to spite the pollsters and talking heads, the frank and brilliant former governor, Jed Bartlet, captures the White House to become President of the United States.

Surrounding himself with the best and the brightest, the president chooses his staff from the team responsible for putting him in the White House. Leo McGarry, the president's oldest friend -- and the man who convinces Bartlet to run -- is named chief of staff. One of the most powerful men in his party, Leo presides over the West Wing of the White House with a firm hand and a fatherly tone. With uncanny prescience, Leo puts his faith in Toby Ziegler, the only original staff member to make it through the campaign. Despite six previous failures, Toby's work along with a new team of friends and strangers, helps get Bartlet nominated and elected. Now, as the communications director for the White House, Toby holds an important role in crafting the president's word.

Using the power instilled in him as an old family friend, Leo McGarry brings Josh Lyman to the campaign with a simple request to come hear Jed Bartlet speak. In a VFW hall in Nashua, New Hampshire, the skeptical Josh does come and is amazed to finally find a candidate to believe in. Convinced that the man should be president, Lyman gets his friend Sam Seaborn to quit his job at a major law firm where he is about to become a partner and join Bartlet's campaign. Gladly serving at the pleasure of President Bartlet, Sam is now the White House deputy communications director and his friend Josh is the deputy chief of staff. Two men from different backgrounds from opposite ends of the country are united not just by friendship but by their devotion to the president.

"Is Jed Bartlet a good man?" is all that C.J. Cregg wants to know before she agrees to work for him. Toby Ziegler's assurance is all she needs to hear. In an age where the news cycle can last mere seconds, C.J. is the press secretary to the most demanding pool of reporters in the world, the White House Press Corps.

With a staff of more than 1,100 people, the West Wing overflows with offices and personnel. Although the upper echelon provides the very public face of the White House, a support staff of hundreds regularly carries out the duties of the executive branch of the government. Filling these desks are numerous aides and assistants, like Donna Moss, who started working for Josh Lyman during the nomination campaign and is now "deputy-deputy chief of staff." Among her many responsibilities is to make sure that her boss is on time for meetings and fully prepared -- which sometimes means making sure that he is dressed.

While the White House is very much a public institution, there is one man in particular whose job requires him to be either an imposing figure or totally invisible, often at the same time. Charlie Young, personal aide to the president, truly determines who has access. Among the many tasks laid out before this brilliant young man, he is first and foremost the keeper of the schedule.

These people, and a staff of hundreds more, lead America from the most privileged office in the world, from inside


Step inside the Bartlet Administration in this richly detailed, perfectly imagined official companion to television's most sophisticated dramatic series, The West Wing. Created by Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing won nine Emmy® Awards, the Humanitas Prize, the Peabody Award, and three Television Critics Association Awards in its first season alone -- and is acclaimed for its superb writing, marvelous portrayals by a stellar cast, and an intelligent, authentic depiction of White House life. Now, the show that has set television's new standard brings you this insider's guide -- which not only presents fascinating details into how groundbreaking television is made, but captures the colorful world of The West Wing and the nation's capital under the Bartlet Administration.

The prestigious Peabody Award cited The West Wing as "a magnificent episodic series that depicts the tension and back-room drama of presidential politics with an unusual mixture of maturity and humanity." Now, experience the excitement and authenticity of The West Wing as never before, with this unique, in-depth tribute.

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First Sentence
In the bar of the Georgetown Four Seasons Hotel, Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) is having a drink with his friend Billy (Marc Grapey), a reporter. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The first two years of West Wing Aug. 28 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a wonderful look back on the first two years of a most interesting and enjoyable series.

We bought the complete series of the seven years of West Wing on DVD and over the past 4 years, have watched it NINE TIMES !

I am sure that over the next few years we will read this book before we watch the series again and again.

Truly a wonderful find. Thank you Amazon and Awesome Books for your assistance in finding this treasure for our library.

Sincerely, Bunny and David Fraser
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3.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, historically evocative setting. Jan. 4 2008
This book, as the official companion to the TV series, has a remarkable, historically evocative setting.

That being said, I keep being made aware of the liberal-tinted glasses through which issues and personalities are seen, and, indeed, created, because this is, after all, fiction.

This creation is a 'what you see is what you get' affair: much to commend it, but you know where it is coming from.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I am so hoping for a sequel to this book! Feb. 18 2004
By mrshvd3
I have seen the "West Wing" books that feature scripts from selected episodes. But this book includes every episode from the first two seasons, told in story form. Plus chapters on each of the actors and their characters, the background on the making of the show -- if you're a fan, this is a "must have". I just hope that there will be, at some point, additional volumes to cover the third, fourth and fifth seasons -- and so on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Jam-packed with Trivia for the Serious Wingnut July 6 2003
By Janefpl
I thumbed through this book in a bookstore and by the time I got home, I realized I had to own it and I was online ordering my own copy. This book is more than just a rehash of the first two seasons. We are treated to a real behind-the-scenes tour of what goes into filming the show. Talk about your West Wing trivia!
The asides from the actors on the characters they play are filled with gems of inside information. For instance, what do Brad Whitford and Janel Moloney think the roles of Josh and Donna are all about; how does Martin Sheen get the cast to treat him like the President and why is this adulation so important; and why is Allison Janney everyone's favorite? We are treated to a tour of the West Wing to fully understand the layout of the staff's offices and the dynamics of the characters in relationship to each other. Then, the decorations in the offices are explained, and nothing is so minor to be included by chance.
Sorkin claims he doesn't have a political agenda. He asks his staff to write a pro-con memo on each episode, and he is most comfortable when two people disagree. If the points are good, he incorporates them into the show's dialogue. You have to be a West Wing fan, and a pretty serious one at that, to fully appreciate this Official Companion, which brings to light the fine points of all that went into creating the first two seasons of this amazingly written and performed show.
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By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
I know that there is a collection of scripts from the first two season of "The West Wing," including the the Emmy Award-winning episode "In Excelsis Deo," but that only offers up a half dozen scripts. This volume is "The Official Companion" to the television series created by Aaron Sorkin and covers the first two seasons of the series in a rather interesting way. Each episode is given, on average, six pages, in which the episode is described in narrative format with choices quotations and exchanges of dialogue included. I have to admit I like this approach, because it saves fans of the show from going through dozens of pages of scripts to find their favorites lines (e.g., Sam's "This is bad on so many levels" from the Pilot episode).

These 44 episode summaries are enhanced in various ways throughout this volume. There are comments from Sorkin, the cast, and even a few real former West Wing staffers highlighted in the margins, usually talking specifically about the scene they appear next to on the page. You will also find references to alternate scenes that students of the show will find fascinating. There are even footnotes: Barlet might spare his senior staff list listing all fourteen of the punctuation marks in standard English grammar, but here they get named (along with the point that Toby only knew the last seven in the list). In between episodes at various points in the volume you will find profiles of the eight principle actors and insights into the show's creation and a photo tour of the West Wing. Consequently, "The West Wing" provides both a walk down memory lane and insights into the stories, characters, and actors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for an excellant program Feb. 25 2003
This inside look at my favorite program gives a background to the characters, the storylines, and other information. A must have for all "Wingnuts" as we're called. It is particularly good for the background on the departing Sam Seaborn played of course by Rob Lowe. Hopefully, there will be a second book covering the next season.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! Dec 27 2002
By Cat
This book is fantastic! It is beautifully set out and it has really clear pictures of the cast and the sets. I especially love the quotes that it has on each page from either the cast or crew. You learn a lot! It's also cool how they have a description of each episode intertwined with the best quotes. Really well done - I definitely recommend it!
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