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How Washington Really Works Paperback – March 21, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0201624700 ISBN-10: 0201624702 Edition: Fourth Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Fourth Edition edition (March 21, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201624702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201624700
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Petersis editor in chief of The Washington Monthly, which:”Covers its subject, politics and government, better than any magazine around”--The Washington Post”Holds up a deadly accurate mirror to the Washington political culture, exposing its hypocrisies, stupidities, and unexpected triumphs.”--The Chicago Tribune”(Is) an indispensable decoder and deconstructor of the men and myths governing our nation’s capital.”--The Nation

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Todd Winer on January 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've talked about this book with other people who have read it and the consensus is that it is a cynical book that doesn't educate the reader. But personally, I would rather read a book that is skeptical and willing to explain the problems of Washington to the reader than pretend that everything is fine and dandy while the problems fester. I agree with Mr. Peters that the bottom line is that there is a lack of accountability in the nation's capital. Mr. Peters understands that human beings are rational, intuitive creatures. The thing that was so crucial to the constitution and its success was its ability to get people to work in their own interests but channel that energy into constructive ends. What struck me after reading this book was that our current institutions act in the same rational manner but they have been misdesigned to reward unconstructive ends. America doesn't face a crisis, mind you. I dislike it when people raise alarm needlessly. But I feel that without an intelligent discussion about what our government can an should be, we face the prospect of national stagnation or worse.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gene P. Louie TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forget the Constitution, the idealist views from high school textbooks, and what politicians tell you. This book tells how politics works and how things get done in Washington, D.C. It is an expose on the day-to-day operations in government. The information is honest and backed up with numerous examples.

I was so impressed with the material that I used the volume in my high school American Government classes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fitting subtitle for Charles Peters’ sharp commentary on American government, How Washington Really Works, might be The Political Cynics Bible. Peters, after his decades reporting on Washington, certainly had a front row seat to everything that is wrong in politics and bureaucracy. His credentials for incredulity are impeccable. Like a latter twentieth century H.L. Menken, the author never shies away from banishing all thought of altruism from any citizen’s mind. Our politicians are either self-interested hogs, crony capitalists, lazy bureaucrats in the lap of luxury, or naïve neophytes on their way to becoming one of the former. Our government is all sound and fury signifying nothing. According to Peters, the only way out, as he briefly outlines following 160 pages of malaise, is a return to democracy and some good old political patronage. “[The problems] won’t be cured,” he writes, “until we have a rebirth of patriotism – or if that word embarrasses you, a willingness to put the welfare of the national community above our own” (p. 164). Who could argue with that? I suppose anyone in government who thinks they are there for the right reasons.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jeff.dennison@sen.ca.gov on January 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Peters goes through many of his experiences in civil service and how Washingtonians perpetuate a system that does not work for the common man. This book brings insight for those who have not ever been or worked in our Nations capitol.
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