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Where the Evidence Leads

By Dick Thornburgh
An Autobiography

Set in any era, Dick Thornburgh’s brilliant career would merit study and retelling. He was the first Republican elected to two successive terms as governor of Pennsylvania (1979-87). He served in the United States Department of Justice under five presidents, including three years as attorney general in the cabinets of Presidents Reagan and Bush (1988-91). As undersecretary-general of the United Nations (1993), he was the highest ranking American in the organization and a strong voice for reform.

Thornburgh’s 25-year path through the highest levels of local, state, and national government has coincided with some of the most compelling events of the American century. In this book, he follows his well-known mantra to pursue the trail of evidence wherever it leads as he candidly presents both the public and private stories of a life fully engaged with public service to this country.

Nationally, Thornburgh is best remembered for his three years as attorney general, when he managed some of the most vexing legal matters of the modern age: the Savings and Loan and BCCI scandals; controversy over the “Iraqgate” and INSLAW investigations and the Wichita abortion clinic protests; and prosecutions of Michael Milken, Manuel Noriega, and Marian Barry, as well as those involved in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the Rodney King beating.

As governor of Pennsylvania, he faced the nation’s worst nuclear accident, weeks after his inauguration in 1979. Thornburgh’s cool-headed response to the Three Mile Island disaster is often studied as a textbook example of emergency management. He recounts his efforts to transform the state’s ailing smokestack economy and the controversy over “Thornfare” an early welfare-to-work program. His historic 1992 battle against Harris Wofford for the late John Heinz II’s senate seat is one of several political campaigns vividly recalled that reveal the inner workings of the commonwealth’s political machinery.

Thornburgh reveals painful details of his personal life including the 1960 automobile accident that claimed the life of his first wife and permanently disabled his infant son. He presents a frank analysis of the challenges of raising a family as a public figure, and tells the moving story of his personal and political crusade

“Dick Thornburgh is one of the most dedicated public servants I have ever met. Even those who are skeptical about politics and public service will learn a lot from “Where the Evidence Leads” – President George H. W. Bush, 41st president of the United States

"The most interesting personal and political autobiography I have read in years. Set in any era, Dick Thornburgh's brilliant career would merit study and retelling.  Vital reading for anyone who would understand Republican and national politics – past and present." – David Eisenhower

“A true giant of American law and politics…In this memorable book, Dick brings all his skills to the printed page and I guarantee you will not put it down. Five stars!” – Larry King

"Offers an insider's insight on key chapters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and national history....An often fascinating record." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Engagingly written.  This collection of first-person narratives and scholarly essays, tales of personalities and analyses of policy, provides a multi-faceted look back at the last century in American government." - ForeWord Magazine

Where the Evidence Leads is available for purchase at