This Town by Mark Leibovich (3 out of 4)




I’m not sure whom the snooty politician on the front is supposed to be, but he strikes me as a cross between Romney and Kerry (shudders). Anyhow, it’s pretty well known that I enjoy a salacious read every once in a while. I like the political nitty gritty ones more than most, and I’m not sure why because I’m usually the first person to say that all politicians piss me off and therefore, why would I like to read about them? I think it’s because I think reading about their mad BS moves makes me believe I can figure out their motivation. Greed knows no scruples. Anyway, this was a hot title in the store I manage, but it faded quickly. It was a similar reaction with my enthusiasm for it.  The book remains on the New York Times bestseller list.

Mark Leibovich is the chief national correspondent for the New York Times magazine, and is known to be a reputable source. This book has been described as being no-holds barred and unsparing in its descriptions of the personalities behind the Political Curtain. This is definitely the case. The book starts out at the funeral of Tim Russert, long running and highly respected host of Meet The Press, and goes to and from, back and forth, between the guests and those who went came before and went since that event (2008). It’s a quick read, which helped me considerably in the parts that lagged. I think I went in fully expecting it to read like a tabloid and it did, in parts, but mostly, a respectable take on the town, the Republicans and Democrats and their Lego sandbox wars, and what has happened as a result of those personality clashes. It is eye opening and entertaining.

However, it wasn’t quite entertaining enough to keep my attention. There were parts of the book where I had to set it down and go do a load of laundry, then come back to the book once a break had been taken. If it’s a book like Game Change, that doesn’t happen. This Town read more like Double Down (the followup to Game Change and nowhere near as entertaining). (And no, the rhyming was not intentional). There are a lot of passages about the down low and the swing low, Monica Lewinsky variety, which are entertaining, but it gets bogged down with passages about the parties and their borderline policies. Again, not bad, just not for me.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I just wouldn’t set it on the shelf for the Recommends at the store, because I could only be lukewarm about it. If I’m putting something on that Recommends list, I have to LOVE it, scream it from the rooftops, cook it with beets, etc. I will say that Leibovich has done his homework well, I just think I wish it was Perez Hilton delivering the book in his style, and I likely would have enjoyed it more. It’s the tabloid junkie in me that brings my star rating down.



~ by generationgbooks on February 5, 2014.

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