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The definitive book on inside Washington
on February 4, 1998
Hedrick Smith's "The Power Game" is easily the best, and most informative, political book to come out in the last 25 years. Through his myriad of stories, Smith pieces together a definitive profile of Washington: what its like, who wins, who loses, and what the games are. It gives an informative outline as to the fundamental strategies and actions are in Washington, and what the role of certain circles of power are, such as the media, the military, and the lobbies.
The examples Smith uses to illustrate his points on Washington come mainly from the Reagan administration. Smith's analysis of the Reagan era is very troubling, and he specifically says that the actions of the Reagan team are similar to all the teams of "successful" Presidents. Inadvertently (or perhaps purposefully), Smith raises serious questions about the ethics of Washington today, and the actions of the present day administration. He also points out the actions of Congress, and the faults with the present-day system. Smith also delves into the origins of our system, tracing the impact of various political events throughout history. Smith manages to make this not only readable, but highly interesting. He mixes humor and wit with biting sarcasm and investigative journalism, all making for a very intelligent and thorough analysis of Washington. Even Smith's solutions are concise and cogent.
Smith is not a brilliant writer: he is adept, but he is not brilliant. His strength lies in research and presentation of his extensive material. Surprisingly, Smith is able to deliver the material in a very readable, friendly way. Despite being an insider for so many years, he is able to write as a tourist, stunned by the denigration of Washington over the years. He is also able to use his experience to give first-hand insight into corrupt Washington, all of which leads to a very smart, very good book. Smith is a little wordy, and he has many passages which are extraneous, but despite the flaws, he has packed this book with information every American must know. A must-read for all interested in our government at all. In fact, this is a book that every person who votes must read, because it gives tremendous insight into our system. A fine job.