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O: A Presidential Novel Hardcover – January 25, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The characters aren't really people. They are simply internal monologues with people's names.
There's no action. Anonymous doesn't write about things as they happen; everything is back story. Even events that take place during the timeline of the book don't happen in front of our eyes. Anonymous moves the story three days forward so characters can discuss what happened in past tense. The only real-time occurences in the book are cocktail parties, private meetings, and ruminations.
There's little dialogue. Sure, people talk, but they don't reveal much to us in their actual conversation. Instead, a character says something, and then the author spends three pages telling us what the character thought but didn't say. Then there's another page and a half while the next character thinks about what the first character said. Finally the second character speaks a few lines, and both of them spend several more pages thinking about their respective positions.
People in politics are ambitious, motivated and driven by either ideas or egos or both. A presidential campaign is fascinating; it captures the attention of most of the country for at least two years. This book manages to give it all the fast-paced appeal of a race between two snails.
For Kindle readers: this book lacks an interactive table of contents.
In all seriousness, this book is really not worth your time. But, there are a few redeeming qualities. You should know by now that it was written by someone with experience in actual presidential politics. Word is its Mark Salter, formerly of the MCCain campaign. If thats true, then its kind of cool because the book absolutely savages the former governor of alaska (a thinly veiled character named only as the "lusty librarian"). Also, it's clear that the author has no love for the huffington post or it's namesake.
But the real problem is that the writing style is just horrid and the whole plot just mundane. They key turning point for the whole plot ends up being trivial and you find yourself asking, after all the build up - thats it? It's as though the author wrote an outline of the plot and instead of flushing it out through characterization and action, he simply just described the outline more verbosely.
So as I promised, the one word and recommendation - trite and not worth your time.
No doubt Mr. Salter has talent, but this book isn't the strongest highlight of that talent. Like more recent Tom Clancy novels, Salter seems a bit too interested in score-settling, ideology and adjectives. This all comes at a cost to the actual literary merit of the book. Like others have said before me, Klein's Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics is a better example of political fiction and Epps' The Shad Treatment (Virginia Bookshelf), Beinhart's Wag the Dog: A Novel and Warren's All the King's Men are even better examples.
Buy them instead.
The first 10% of this book, I read with care and attention.
The second 10% seemed to fly by with the r/h flipper going faster and faster.
Finally, it seemed easier and less wearing on my right thumb, to just go to 99% and see if something had happened.
Summation: It probably would have been a good idea if "anonymous" had tried better to stay that way. This book could not do a whole lot to further a speech-writer's reputation.
There are also some embarrassingly simpleton-like negative descriptors hinting at an Arianna Huffington character.("Dahling") But, worse than the promise of broad literary political character "insider" assassination... that is never launched... is the author's overbearing use of words in almost every job description or political action. Time after time...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very nuanced view of "a" political race and the candidate and their staff. Funny, insightful and just barely fictitious.Published 1 day ago by Sherry Underwood
3/20/16 The book jacket design gave the assumption that the title "O" stood for President Barack Obama.. Read morePublished 4 months ago by abj
After reading all of the reviews of this book, I was quite disappointed at how difficult it was to get into.Published on March 13, 2014 by Holly
Probably a feast for hard-core political junkies: rife with intrigue, relationships shifting like quicksand underfoot, the trappings of power, the power of ambition, the thrill of... Read morePublished on November 29, 2013 by Maureen Allen
This is precisely the kind of subject/perspective that makes a novel exciting to me--an insider's look at politics and the people inside campaigns and government. Read morePublished on August 14, 2012 by John W. Gastil
Peggy Noonan had so many scraps of paper. Notes really. Quotes, bromides, idle bits of chatter. Campaigns produce so much.
"Why not do it as a novel?" she thought. Read more
Bought this book by accident. I read this anyway. I would not consider this book as anything you could responsibly catalog at a library because this book is fiction mixed with... Read morePublished on February 12, 2012 by Goldsmith23
All good good delivery good book etc A presidential novel is intriguing and a look into the behind the scenes world of professional politics in the statesPublished on October 16, 2011 by Tonto23
I didnt buy this because I expected real insider Washingtom gossip; I'd presumed that would only appear after the 2012 election. Read morePublished on September 15, 2011 by MasterChef