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The West Wing: The Official Companion [Hardcover]

Warner Bros.
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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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

THE WEST WING

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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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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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Valentine's Day present ever Feb. 15 2002
Format:Hardcover
I couldn't put this book down after receiving it yesterday and ended up staying awake half the night. The quality of the hardcover edition is similar to the best coffee table books and the photos are to die for. The episode guides were written by a true fan (thank you, thank you, thank you) and have just the right amount of detail for pleasurable memory jogging -- each runs several pages. My favorite parts, though, were the many, many sideboxes with quotes from each actor and key people involved behind the scenes.
This book covers the first two seasons and I can't wait until these authors write their next book(s) covering future seasons.
Bravo!
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting way of covering the show's first two seasons April 21 2003
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
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.
"The West Wing" is a show where having all the scripts available in print might be a good thing, but it is not likely to happen. It took six volumes to put into print all of the scripts from the first two seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and that was with 10 less episodes than on "The West Wing." The series will probably end up in syndication on cable channels for eternity so we might never get it released on DVD either. A series of volumes covering all of the episodes in this manner, printed in two season increments, would be an acceptable substitute.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! Jan. 3 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I can not recommend enough that fans get a copy of this book! After reading 'Inside the West Wing', I was a little skeptical about getting this book. I didn't want to get another book that said the same thing.
BUT OH, MY. This is such a great book! :) Absolutely filled to the brim with beautiful color pictures, interviews( original, not rehashed clips from previous interviews) with cast and crew, cast/character bios (great!), alternate/cut scenes, episode summaries (not half page summaries either. three or more pages that walk you through the episode and are fill up with quotes. Also, you can tell the person who wrote these summaries actually WATCHED the episodes!), a tour of the White House with GREAT pictures, and little facts not even the most die-hard fan knows!
There is so much in here! An alternate scene with POTUS and Donna that'll make you smile; a great quote from Emily Proctor that will make the Sam/Ainsley shippers out there cheer; banter between Richard and Allison that'll make you laugh out loud; John Spencer's take on his relationship with Margaret, and a million and one other things that'll you'll just have to see for yourself!
Get this book. I consider it a must have for any Wingnut!
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This time they got it right. Jan. 3 2002
By Jane Harper - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Buy this book.
Buy two copies of this book, come to think of it; you'll want to cannibalize one just for the photographs.
This time they got it right. This is as flawless a book as Challen's monstrosity was dismal. Buy one for your friends. Buy one for every Wingnut you know. Buy one for people who never heard of the show, it'll hook 'em. The introduction (by Martin Sheen) is a superb lead-in and almost worth the price of admission in itself.

"The West Wing" is basically an episode guide to the first two seasons of the best show on television. It is a visual delight; glossy paper and a practically limitless supply of amazingly gorgeous photographs. Each episode is summarized -- *not* reviewed, but summarized -- with snippets of dialogue thrown in, and bits of interview with everyone from the Executive Producers to the Director of Photography to the recurring bit players to the costumer. Occasionally a synopsis of a scene that never made it into the final edit is supplied, and some of those are very surprising.
The other major piece of this book are features on each of the lead actors for the second season (Lowe, Hill, Janney, Moloney, Schiff, Spencer, Whitford, and Sheen) and their characters, with just enough new information to tantalize.
If we'd had this book last month I know a hundred thousand Christmases would have been happier.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for any West Wing fan Jan. 27 2002
By Jenna - Published on Amazon.com
What an amazing book! Compared to the other West Wing book I have, which was poorly done, this incredible anthology has great information on every episode plus commentations, for the first two seasons. Not to mention a tour of the West Wing and character biographies. This book is one I could not put down and you won't be able to either.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am so hoping for a sequel to this book! Feb. 17 2004
By mrshvd3 - Published on Amazon.com
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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