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The White House Mess Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140249281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140249286
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With a dotty, pajama-clad President Reagan refusing to leave the White House on his successor's Inauguration Day, Buckley has given this farce of Oval Office politics a nearly perfect beginning. Unfortunately, he uses his best shot first and the rest of the book rarely equals the wit that energizes the hilarious opening. Parodying the familiar form of the White House memoir, Buckley (author of Steaming in Bamboola, son of William F. Buckley) recounts the turbulent years of the Democratic Tucker administration, as told by loyalist Herbert Wadlough. Through this former accountant's eyes, we see the infighting that plagues the White House, the President's faltering marriage to a former starlet, and his ongoing crises, including restoration of ties with Castro andin one of the novel's smarter sectionsa Marxist coup in Bermuda. Buckley, a onetime speechwriter for George Bush, obviously knows Washington's foibles and follies, but the zest of the book's early promise is smothered by an otherwise bland performance. Literary Guild alternate. (March 24p
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Christopher Buckley was born in New York City in 1952. He was educated at Portsmouth Abbey, worked on a Norwegian tramp freighter and graduated cum laude from Yale. At age 24 he was managing editor of "Esquire" magazine; at 29, chief speechwriter to the Vice President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. He was the founding editor of "Forbes FYI" magazine (now "ForbesLife"), where he is now editor-at-large.

He is the author of fifteen books, which have translated into sixteen languages. They include: "Steaming To Bamboola," "The White House Mess," "Wet Work," "God Is My Broker," "Little Green Men," "No Way To Treat a First Lady," "Florence of Arabia," "Boomsday," "Supreme Courtship," "Losing Mum And Pup: A Memoir," and "Thank You For Smoking," which was made into a movie in 2005. Most have been named "New York Times" Notable Books of the Year. His most recent novel is "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?"

He has written for "The New York Times," "Washington Post," "Wall Street Journal," "The New Yorker," "Atlantic Monthly," "Time," "Newsweek," "Vanity Fair," "National Geographic," "New York Magazine," "The Washington Monthly," "Forbes," "Esquire," "Vogue," "Daily Beast," and other publications.

He received the Washington Irving Prize for Literary Excellence and the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He lives in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

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It does, however, sound like a comic novel which would have produced by George H. Bush's speechwriter.
Michael K. McKeon
The jockeying for position by persons surrounding the executive office holder is described with much color and verve.
Mary E. Sibley
This is a truly hilarious book and a must read for anyone with an interest in politics or a need for a good laugh.
Jeffrey Ellis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amy R. Nix on January 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Believe it or not, I managed to make it through this much of my life having never read a word by Christopher Buckley. This book was loaned to me by a friend, and I was a little skeptical about reading a political satire after coming off the past several months of "political cartoon overload."
The belly laughing had begun by paragraph 5 of the prologue, and I was unable to put this book down. I read the entire book in two sittings, and I have to say that I haven't laughed so hard or so well in a long, long time.
I was genuinely concerned that the book would be just another politics-driven piece of thinly disguised propoganda for one "side" or the other, but it was, instead, a refreshing and silly poke at government in general. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this book is a good poke at <i>people</i> in general.
I loved every page of <u>The White House Mess,</u> and I recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone looking for a good chuckle.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jussi Bjorling on May 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book will be funny to anyone, but readers unfortunate enough to have read any memoirs of the "from the corridors of power" genre will be convulsed. Buckley writes from the perspective of a high-ranking aide to Reagan's fictional successor, President Tucker, jotting down a diary as self-important as his real-life counterparts (one subplot turns around the writer's attempt to keep his parking spot, which seems to be of equal importance as the rest of the nation's business put together).
Buckley is not just amusing, but often insightful. While the events of the book are absurd, the characters are often all too realistic. A must-read for Buckley fans, and highly recommended for anyone else.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Ellis on January 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
The White House Mess is both a hilarious political satire and an amazingly accurate portrait of the first Clinton Administration. Sure, the names have been changed but anyone who followed politics over the course of the '90s will recognize the characters. Thomas N. Tucker is a so-called "Moderate Democrat" who, after a few terms as Governor of a small Republican state (Idaho, in this case), is elected President over Republican George H.W. Bush. Tucker comes to Washington with a fiercely independent wife and a staff that is an uneasy mix of cynical insiders and idealistically niave (read: stupid) campaign aides with little actual practical experience. Over the course of the next four years, Tucker finds himself embroiled in a sex scandal, has to deal with his idiot brother, fails to establish any firm policy beyond what the polls say he should do, and -- as his Presidency comes to a close -- manages to embroil American soldiers in a futile military campaign. There it is, the Clinton Administration in a nutshell. Of course, what's truly amazing isn't that Buckley managed to write a memoir of the Clinton Presidency but that Buckley did so in 1987 -- five years before anyone outside of Arkansas even knew who Bill Clinton was and certainly before anyone expected this guy to be President. (Of course, what's really funny is that when the book first came out, many critics sniped that Buckley's satire was too outrageous and had no basis in reality.)
Unfairly or not, Clinton hangs over Buckley's satire and, what originally might have seemed as a simple farce, is now tinged with a certain bittersweet feel. You still laugh but its no longer a what-will-he-say-next laugh as much as its a laugh of I-Can't-Believe-This-Actually-Happened.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Cicogna on August 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here is another great and funny book from Mr. Buckley.
Are these real life situations or just possibilities ?
Just like his father, Christopher finds the right tone and the right sense of humor to make fun of our politicians.
Mr. Buckley please keep writing and amuse us. We need it in today's political environment.
Great book , and as always very well written.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mjfire@aol.com on January 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the most hysterical book I have ever read. Buckley presents an uproarious picture of the most maladroit administration in ages -- I imagine a Democratic one so as to appease his conservative relation, William F. Anyone looking for a quick read and a memorable laugh, especially someone who is aware of politics, ought to read this book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is still funny, although it is greatly overshadowed by Buckley's later books, Little Green Men and Thank You for Smoking, which are two of the most outlandishly hilarious novels ever written. As a memoir of an ill-fated, disaster-prone, fictional administration, it has its moments, and if you have read the two more recent books, I can still recommend this one, although it won't give you the belly laughs that Thank You for Smoking and Little Green Men did. If you've already read those two and are looking for something else by the same author, this one is still worthwhile.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Berquist on January 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Like the tobacco industry and the conspiracy obsessed alien abduction movement, Christopher Buckley has always picked targets that deserve ridicule for their pompous self-absorption and their lack of contact with reality. Those self-serving political memoirs that politicians write after leaving office or their jobs were a natural target for Buckley's poisoned pen. The White House Mess is a letter perfect parody of the fictional Thomas N. Tucker administration from the perspective of his Assistant, Herbert Wadlough.
Anyone who reads memoirs will recognize the usual things- the vivid remembrances of petty turf battles, self-serving recollections of conversations where they believe their input was the decisive factor, etc. Buckley tosses in a hilarious series of crisis for the Tucker Administration to wallow over, and equally inept administration officials to mock. The scary thing is that the Tucker Administration bears a striking resemblance to the first year of the Clinton Administration. Oddly prescient for a book written in 1986.
Fans of Christopher Buckley will not be disappointed.
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