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Publisher's Summary

One of the nation's most acclaimed journalists, The New York Times' Mark Leibovich, presents a blistering, penetrating, jaw-dropping - and often hysterical - look at Washington’s incestuous "media industrial complex".
The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash.
In Mark Leibovich’s remarkable look at the way things really work in D.C., a funeral for a beloved television star becomes the perfect networking platform, a disgraced political aide can emerge with more power than his boss, campaign losers befriend their vanquishers (and make more money than ever!), "conflict of interest" is a term lost in translation, political reporters are fetishized and worshipped for their ability to get one's name in print, and, well - we're all really friends, aren't we?
What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.
©2013 Mark Leibovich (P)2013 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By John S. on 08-07-13

They're out of touch ... and how!

Another case where the author makes his point early, so the later part of the book are examples after we've already been convinced: the Beltway Bubble is far more insular (inbred) than I'd thought ... and I'm a jaded political junkie! An Old Boys' (mostly male, but there are Old Girls, too) Network of overpaid "consultants" living off of the presumed "connections" between lavish parties. Instead of trickle-down, money there circulates laterally.
By the end of the first audio part I'd heard enough, so put the book aside, coming back later, which didn't help. Inside story of a Hill staffer didn't work for me, so I ended up fast-forwarding through much of it. Pace picks up for the final 1/3 or so with a portrait of Hillary Clinton, followed by an analysis of the role of the D. C. press corps in the 2012 campaign ("spin rooms" are a vestigial non-necessity). Romney fans might take offense that their candidate is usually referred by the author as Mittens.

Overall, I found the tales of overpaid has-beens, and wanna-be's,a bit of a downer. Still, I thought it took guts for the author to write so honestly about folks he sees regularly. Recommended, though if you're looking for juicy details, there aren't really a lot. One point that stood out for me was Leibovich's regular mention of Tammy Haddad, a big party thrower (whom I'd not heard of before); seemed almost as though he feared she'd strike him from future guest lists if he didn't talk her up enough?

Audio narration was very good.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Benedict on 07-31-13

Says what we already thought, but now with facts

We already have cynical views of perhaps every one of our politicians, particularly those who oppose our personal views.

Now we can rest assured that politicians on "both sides of the aisle" are entirely cynical in their dealings with each other and particularly with the voters.

In today's world, even a terrific loss can be "monetized" to the point that losers such as Generals McChrystal and Petraeus are far better off financially now after being fired from their jobs.

The books is quite humorous, and I highly recommend it.

The amounts of money involved here are extraordinary!

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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