LitPicks Book Reviews—September 2013

Theme—D.C Dysfunction...was it always so?
At a time when those who work in the U.S. capital rank only slightly  higher than serial murderers, this month's books take a good look at the ins and outs of life as it is—and wasin the Disctrict of Columbuia.

 
Labels: A Lighter Touch

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This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral—Plus, Plenty of  Valet Parking! in America's Gilded Capital
Mark Liebovich, 2013
400 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
September, 2013
Mark Liebovich's take on the nation's capital generates so many "suspicions confirmed" head-nods, you'll be popping Advil to ease the neck pain. According to This Town, Washington really is that bad—as bad we thought, even worse.

The opening pages take us to Tim Russert's funeral, a laugh-out-loud look at the preening, posturing D.C. in-crowd. That first chapter alone is worth the price of admission.

 

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Lincoln
Gore Vidal, 1984
672 pp.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin, 2005
944 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
September 2013
Lincoln's presidency is one of the great Washington political stories of all time. It's also a classic underdog story, made all the more riveting because it's true—and because so much was at stake.

You could read both books, but given their combined weight of 1,600 pages, you'd be at it till kingdom come. Either book is an extraordinary read (one fiction, one history), and they both cover similar ground—how Abraham Lincoln continually outfoxed his political rivals.
 
Labels: Great Works

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Advise and Consent
Allen Drury, 1959
638 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
September, 2013

Written over 50 years ago, Advise and Consent still remains America's best political novel. It is politics in the raw—an unappetizing mix of barter, bribery, even blackmail—all served up as a part of the democratic process.

What makes the story not only palatable but absolutely delicious is the depth of Drury's characters and the fact that he makes us privy to the reasoning and pressures behind their decisions. Drury does the impossible: he makes his politicans sympathetic, even admirable.

 

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