Judge, professor, doctor and writer Alberto Gonzales was joined by colleague Harry Chapman, director of special projects and major gifts, and his co-author Ken Abraham on the fourth floor of the Janet Ayers Academic Center Wednesday night.
Students, faculty, family and friends gathered to celebrate the release of Gonzales’ latest book, “True Faith and Allegiance,” billed as an “inspiring and revelatory autobiography” on the book jacket.
The book, only on shelves for two days before the release, could be seen tucked under the arms of Gonzales’ most ardent supporters and was also for sale at the entrance, ready to be signed by Gonzales himself after the discussion.
For those unfamiliar with Gonzales’ workload as attorney general under former president George W. Bush, he summarized it for the audience.
“I advised the executive branch on my second floor West Wing office. We met, we talked, we debated and then presented our legal decisions,” Gonzales said.
To many, Gonzales’ name is synonymous with scandal, as he resigned after accusations of perjury; however, Gonzales did not mention the resignation in his remarks.
Instead, during the event, Chapman prompted the author to share a personal anecdote about something unexpected — a disappointment during his time as attorney general under former President George W. Bush.
Gonzales fostered hopes of a position on the Supreme Court, and with the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, he thought he was the replacement. But Gonzales ended up leading the appointment committee instead, a bittersweet task and a story emotional enough to make it into his memoir.
The reflective memoir reads a lot like the story he shared; emotional, conversational and modest. Gonzales credited his wife and sons for keeping their family together after 9/11 forced him to put in 18-hour workdays.
And Gonzales stressed the hard hours and controversial decisions after the twin towers fell. Part of Gonzales’ motivation for penning the memoir, it seems, was to explain the climate surrounding some of the most difficult and long lasting decisions.
Abraham then added a glowing compliment to Gonzales’ story about rushing back to his post at the White House after 9/11.
“I’m not sure I would have that kind of commitment to my job in that kind of situation. What an example you are for all of us,” Abraham said.
Throughout the discussion, Gonzales stressed his memoir was crafted to explain his decisions and the difficulty of the choices he and others under the Bush administration made after 9/11. This account, “True Faith and Allegiance,” is on shelves now.
This article was written by Jessica King and Meghan Winter. Photo by Jessica King.