SUBJECT: POLITICS!!! (AND GOOD BOOKS!!!)
I do want to offer a few comments however about the upcoming Presidential election. And I want to do so by referring my six readers to the late author Allen Drury (1918-1998). Drury was, arguably, the father of the modern political novel and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1959 for his book "Advise and Consent". Drury was also a professional journalist who worked for UPI, the New York Times and the Washington Star.
In "Advise and Consent", and in the following three novels, Drury introduced his readers to a Washington in the midst of the Cold War; an era in which the "well meaning" liberal intelligentsia of the day preached a doctrine of total appeasement to the Soviets and engaged in a great deal of "blame America first". The novels followed the careers of two politicians: one, a young energetic, inexperienced, naive governor who can't (or won't) control the violent thugs who (in the name of peace) are promoting his candidacy for the Presidency. The second, an older somewhat curmudgeonly former Senator and Secretary of State who is not so polished in his speaking -- but who sees the Soviet threat for exactly what it is. The fourth novel, "Preserve and Protect", ends with one of these two candidates being assassinated -- but does not tell us which one. Drury then goes on to write two sequels: "Come Ninevah, come Tyre: The Presidency of Edwin Jason" and "The Promise of Joy: The Presidency of Orrin Knox".
Although now certainly somewhat dated, the heart behind Drury's writing is every bit as applicable today as when first written. Indeed his next to last novel, "A Thing of State", published in 1995, warned of the dangers of Islamic terrorism -- and the similar naivete of the press and blind politicians.
In this election, we have a choice between a candidate who speaks in sound bites; who has a long list of shady characters (at best) as friends and advisors; and who has no real experience in dealing with the wider world -- and a candidate who is percieved as grumpy and curmudgeonly, who is certainly not as polished, and who doesn't draw the adoring masses -- but who understands the national and international security issues facing our nation at this point in time.
For me, the choice is clear.
Think about it.
As a public service, here is my own guide to Allen Drury's fiction:
The Advise and Consent Series:
- Advise and Consent (1959) -- Winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- a novel about the United States Senate
- A Shade of Difference (1962) -- a novel about the United Nations -- and race relations -- years before the civil rights movement -- and a sequel to Advise and Consent
- Capable of Honor (1966) -- a novel about the press -- and a sequel to A Shade of Difference
- Preserve and Protect (1968) -- a novel about violence used for political purposes -- and a sequel to Capable of Honor
- Come Nineveh, Come Tyre (1973) -- the first of two possible sequels to Preserve and Protect
- The Promise of Joy (1975) -- the second of two possible sequels to Preserve and Protect
- Mark Coffin, U. S. S. (1979) -- a novel about a newly elected senator and the struggles of his early days in office.
- The Hill of Summer (1981) -- a novel about the rise of two leaders -- a vice-president, assuming presidential duties upon the death of his predecessor; and a Soviet premier: young, energetic, and ruthless. This book continues the characters in Mark Coffin.
- The Roads of Earth (1984) -- a sequel to The Hill of Summer -- predicting, with a certain prophetic accuracy, the decline of communism in eastern Europe.
- The Throne of Saturn (1970) -- a novel about the politics of the space race; arguably one of Drury's best
- Anna Hastings (1977) -- a novel about a most colorful newspaper magnate
- Decision (1983) -- a novel about the Supreme Court
- Pentagon (1986) -- a novel about the Pentagon, and the politicization of the military
- A Thing of State (1995) -- a novel about the dangers of Islamic extremist terrorism
- Toward What Bright Glory? (1990) -- a novel set at Stanford University following the members of one particular fraternity
- Into What Far Harbour? (1993) -- a sequel to Toward What Bright Glory?, following the extended careers of the main characters
- Public Men (1998) -- another sequel examining the main characters some 50+ years following the events in the first book
Novels of Ancient Egypt:
- A God Against the Gods (1976) -- a novel dealing with the events of the late 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt
- Return to Thebes (1977) -- a sequel to A God Against the Gods
- That Summer (1965) -- a rather forgettable novel about angst in California
- The Destiny Makers (1988) -- I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA!!!