The time is 1964. The place is the Cabinet Room of the White House. An unexpected accident and the law of succession have just made Douglass Dilman the first black President of the United States.
This is the theme of what was surely one of the most provocative novels of the 1960s. It takes the reader into the storm center of the presidency, where Dilman, until now an almost unknown senator, must bear the weight of three burdens: his office, his race, and his private life.
From beginning to end, The Man is a novel of swift and tremendous drama, as President Dilman attempts to uphold his oath in the face of international crises, domestic dissension, violence, scandal, and ferocious hostility. Push comes to shove in a breathtaking climax, played out in the full glare of publicity, when the Senate of the United States meets for the first time in one hundred years to impeach the President.
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Returned, could not listen to it
The narration is really poor. The narrator tries to do voices, but all his voices either sound the same or are laughable. In a book about an African-American president, I thought all the voices sounded African-American and thus could not tell them apart. And the women's voices were particularly bad- like men in a very bad cross-dressing skit. More annoying was the narrator's tendency to put the emphasis on phrases like "he said" in an odd place and thus make this filler phrases jar the listener every time. Then we have the problem that Wallace's book has not aged well at all. It's that 1960's thing where a white man is altogether too self- conscious and preachy in his writing. Also, even for the time the women characters were all weak, man-crazy or man-desperate, and entirely too dumb and tentative to be working in the white house or entertaining senators. The plot showed signs of being laughable even given the historical period in which the book was set. I tried to listen to it, but had to return it after an honest effort.
for it's time the book was a groundbreaking rumination on having a black president. I remembered it fondly which is why I tried it now.
- Francesca "Francesca"
I was Intriged