''Typhoon,'' ''earthquake,'' ''explosion,'' ''upheaval,'' are words connoting waste and destruction, to be sure. But remember there is a creative aspect to catastrophe which sweeps away the old and prepares the way for the new. Be that as it may, in describing the presidency of Duffy Artois the word ''revolution'' is simply inadequate.
''Firestorm'' might be a word used by members of the two-party machine that governed America before Artois.
But in truth no single word suffices. Only a bookful of words might hope to capture the visionary reel of the Artois era.
Hence ''The Dangerous Dream.''
We can discover no writing nor record that predicted greatness for the ambitious and popular boy growing up in Los Angeles: growing first into a passable scholar, then into a criminal attorney, into a prosecutor, a district attorney, and climactically, in 1998, into the California governor's mansion. Young Duffy Artois seemed destined merely for worldly success.
In 2002, as California governor, Artois bravely took all the blame for an abyssal budget deficit, even though there was plenty of blame to go around. After one 4-year term, he was narrowly defeated for reelection.
For the next 5 years he was content to work behind the scenes as a consultant, speechwriter, campaign manager. He was content to be invisible. All the while, in the privacy of his heart, a critical mass was smoldering.
Historians may quibble about whether the catharsis began during his term as governor or afterward. There is no quibble about the historical fact that by 2007, the year a man named Skipper came along and lighted the fuse, Artois had morphed into a walking, talking megaton bomb.