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Vernon Jordan's Book Club

Vernon Jordan signs a book for Mary Haft. (Roxanne Roberts/The Washington Post)

Which came first? The friends or the book?

In this case, the answer is clearly the friends, judging by the 200-plus guests (George Vradenburg, Tony Welters, Joe Allbritton, Franklin Raines, Michael Beschloss, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Elizabeth Drew, Ann Walker Marchant, Roger Sant, Don Graham, Ann Stock) who gathered Monday to celebrate Vernon Jordan's new tome.

"We are here under a mathematical impossibility -- each of us thinks he is Vernon Jordan's closest friend," said Atlantic Media owner David Bradley, who co-hosted the party with his wife, Katherine, and Jim and Maxine Johnson.

D.C.'s consummate insider (civil rights leader, BFF of Bill Clinton, senior managing director with Lazard Freres & Co.) had plenty of serious reasons for penning "Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out," a collection of his speeches from 1971 to 2008. "It's my interpretation of the crucial events in the civil rights movement -- much of which is not recorded from a personal viewpoint," Jordan explained. "It's my view, my take, my experience, and what I learned."

The other good reason? "Your friends turn up for the book parties," he said with a grin.
Their reward? Didn't have to spring for the $24.95 book -- every guest got a free, personalized copy from the author.

By The Reliable Source  |  December 10, 2008; 1:03 AM ET
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