- Perfect Paperback: 252 pages
- Publisher: Twilight Times Books; First edition (January 15, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1606190423
- ISBN-13: 978-1606190425
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,761,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Solomon Scandals Perfect Paperback – January 15, 2009
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Tracing the conscientious reportage of hard-nosed Washington Telegram correspondent Jon Stone, Rothman's thriller weaves together society gossip, zoning reportage, and union grumblings into a pulp-ish web of international intrigue. Stone is the Cassandra of the D.C. press corps--his hunches mocked, his scoops unpublished until it's too late. In the meantime, we get to relish his chatty first-person narrator spinning characterizations of D.C. with the same dark zeal Hammett held for Frisco or Chandler had for Los Angeles. --Ted Scheinman, Washington City Paper
There is exquisite detail attached to the major characters in the book. Social class, regional dialect, gender and non-verbal communication patterns have clearly been given deep thought...Some fascinating plot twists occur so the element of suspense stays strong throughout the read.... An odd, murky charm...recalls The Maltese Falcon... --Lisa Torem, Pennyblackmusic
The Solomon Scandals is a mordantly entertaining book that broadens the cast of the standard Washington novel beyond spymasters and politicians to include real estate barons and federal contract officers. David Rothman's detailed knowledge of the D.C. scene comes through in his satire. Scandals is set in yesterday's Washington, but is about truths behind today's headlines--and about the troubled newspapers that publish the headlines. Like Boomsday and others of the best recent Washington novels, it amuses while broadening our understanding of how today's government works and doesn't. --James Fallows, author of Breaking the News, in advance comments
From the Author
Thanks for checking out The Solomon Scandals, begun in the late 1970s and written on and off over the next several decades.
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Does this kind of intrepid reporter exist today? Taking the time to uncover such a long and tangled series of improprieties requires dedication, time and resources - increasingly that role is performed by crusading bloggers and amateur citizen journalists instead of professionals (Indeed, although Rothman started out as a professional journalist, over the last decade he has blogged full time). Even a newspaper with considerable resources and seasoned journalists like the Telegram (presumably modeled after the Washington Post) might have doubts about sending reporters to report things which are still unproven or likely to ruffle the feathers of important people around town (or worse yet, scare away advertising dollars). Stone is surprised to find that his biggest opponent is the newspaper itself - caught in the frantic and futile attempt to balance news with infotainment. But when newspaper reporting is dominated by who is dating whom and who has the most friends and best parties, journalists become nothing more than paparazzis. Stylistically, the novel might sound a little self-righteous and even self-aware (in good postmodern form). Throughout the book, the narrator seems aware of how later generations may view this campaign to expose Sy's misdeeds; I confess I sometimes had trouble keeping track of names and details. Also, some of the characters seem too glibly drawn. The mean-spirited Telegraph editor seems too glib a caricature. Still, Stone is an affable guy, and the book does a good job of conveying political vernacular of unknown bureaucrats working for a little-known agency. It's also a quick and fun read.
I leave the novel wondering which details of the scandal would matter to later generations. How much do politicians or officials really matter? One more scandal, one more fallen official. Eventually (for the average citizen who reads the newspapers), all these scandals blur together. Later generations of historians might very well care more about things which appear in the gossip pages than in the news section. Or maybe not. Stone believes (correctly, I think) that historians give undue importance to the newspaper's account of historical events - when in fact the real story never really is told in the newspaper. Perhaps the protagonist's real mistake was in working for a daily newspaper (those bastards!) Maybe the protagonist should have ditched reporting & turned it into a screenplay instead.
2016 UPDATE: With the election of Donald Trump, this book is more relevant than ever. This book is about a scandal brewing behind a little known federal agency called the General Services Administration (GSA) -- precisely the kind of department that a Trump-led Administration would be comfortable using to the utmost. What still rings true about this novel is how long misdeeds can stay unnoticed in government -- and how quickly one unfortunate event can cause everything to blow up -- making it seem that the downfall had always been preordained.