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Washington Paperback – July 2, 2002
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Public people almost eagerly dehumanize themselves. They allow the markings of region, family, class, individual character, and, generally, personhood that they once possessed to be leached away. At the same time, they construct a new public self that often does terrible damage to what remains of the genuine person. That is not because people here are bad or set out in the first place to become phonies, but rather because high politics in the city seems to reward the transformation. It is regarded as a measure of competence and required as a condition of success.She has plenty to say about the media: "Journalists who persist in regarding themselves as thoroughly clean and the world around them as thoroughly dirty are guilty of more than misplaced moral vanity. They are also in danger of rendering themselves incapable of plausibly explaining what they are covering--except as further implied evidence of their own virtue." Greenfield was a powerful Washingtonian, but like so many Washingtonians--not least the elected lawmakers--she came from somewhere else (in her case, Seattle). In many ways, this book is a guide to keeping from going native, or, as historian Michael Beschloss nicely puts in an afterword, "how to live at the center of political and journalistic influence in Washington without losing your principles, detachment, or individual human qualities." Washington is part memoir, but mostly observation by a keen watcher and analysis by an acute mind. It stands to become a small classic on life in America's capital and, in a way, life anywhere. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not a `tell-all' book. If you are looking for scandal and in-the-know tidbits on the famous players, you will be disappointed. She writes what it is to be in the middle of the whirlwind of national politics. The first danger is losing yourself, not your ideals. The role politicians must play to survive (and get re-elected) is for public consumption, and all too often the human being behind the spin ceases to exist. She likens D.C. to high school with twice the stress and all of the infighting necessary to be one of the Golden Boys. In D.C., there is no relaxing and reaping of rewards when you reach the exalted Senior status. You must constantly build your warehouse of favors owed to you while not alienating the voters or your peers.
Miss Greenfield has not written a memoir. I think that would have been impossible for her, as she was a completely private person. She maintains she had to be or she would have "lost" herself. Her writing style is economical and clear. She comes across as humorous, amazingly approachable with a very clear and unblinking eye on what has gone on around her. She has an ease with writing that only the best journalists can carry off. The book raises questions and answers others.
Unfortunately, Miss Greenfield died before completing the last chapter.Read more ›
What does come across clearly from the published work is that Greenfield knew many more secrets than she ever told, that she kept these secrets while working for Max Ascoli at The Reporter and Katherine Graham at the Washington Post, and that she may have taken some of her best stories with her to her grave.
One conclusion that occurs after reading WASHINGTON is that reporters and editors have a lot more information than they ever share with their readers -- and that the game of "I know something you don't know" is one of the favorite pastimes in our nation's capital.
To see that confession in print, Greenfield's book is well worth reading.
The only thing I would have liked were more names of the people she covered. She does a classy job of covering nasty little items, but leaving out names or even strong hints as to who she is talking about. Overall this is an interesting book that covers her impressions and time in Washington. It is not a dry year by year run down of major events, but her impressions of the people. For example she spends time talking about the similarities between Washington and a clicky high school with the popular kids living on perception over substance. If you are interested in Washington and the people that make it run then you will enjoy this funny, witty book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A paperback of this book was found at a 2nd hand store. I bought it and read it, and from the first chapter, enjoyed it thoroughly. Read morePublished 4 months ago by drinkin inka
Great book to read before our trip to Wahington DC and Mount Vernon to get some background on our first president.Published 21 months ago by Linda Karber
Love this book. Am planning a trip to D.C. with Road Scholar and this was recommended reading. She was a gifted writer, and I am glad to meet her through this book.Published 23 months ago by grandma judy
I guess that I was disappointed. I had heard that this book was the posthumous memoir of a Washington insider and I was kind of expecting remorse, or the possibility of redemption,... Read morePublished on May 8, 2012 by Jack
It is a shame that I wasn't aware of Meg before she passed away. She sounded like a journalist with great integrity, something we have a severe shortage of. Read morePublished on November 4, 2008 by Alex Hutchinson's Twisted Trails
and then Tells It like it is -
not just about washington dc or politics - about human nature any time/ any place ---
i recommend this to young adults out of... Read more
After reading Meg Greenfield's fascinating, though uneven book I must confess, I have a much more sympathetic regard for politicians than I did before, and a much lower opinion of... Read morePublished on August 7, 2006 by Brian Leverenz
Looking back on nearly four decades as a journalist in the nation's capital, Meg Greenfield's (Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post editorial page editor and Newsweek columnist)... Read morePublished on December 27, 2004 by Lynn Harnett
I cannot agree more with the reviewer who panned this book. Meg Greenfield may have been a great journalist, but a great journalist does not a great author make. Read morePublished on January 16, 2004 by Dean Nielsen