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It a cocktail party, George H. W. Bush encourages Brandon Sladder, the prominent Washington columnist, to write his memoirs. Sladder has, after all, known just about everyone of importance. He has talked on intimate terms with world leaders, been a witness to enormous change, and expressed weighty opinions on important matters of state. He believes that his own life story could add much more than a footnote to our age. But what is meant to be a look back at his life and our times turns out to be far more revealing. The Columnist is Sladder's attempt to burnish his image for posterity. What emerges is something else: the misadventures of an irresistibly loathsome man -- self-important, social climbing, dangerously oblivious. He seems to be remarkably destructive to those who know him best -- employers, rivals, lovers, and family. In Brandon Sladder, Jeffrey Frank has created one of the most memorable rogues in contemporary fiction. By turns hilarious and dismaying, The Columnist is a dead-on, elegantly written portrait of the media and politics of the second half of the twentieth century.
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon had a political and private relationship that lasted nearly twenty years, a tie that survived hurtful slights, tense misunderstandings, and the distance between them in age and temperament. Yet the two men brought out the best and worst in each other, and their association had important consequences for their respective presidencies. In Ike and Dick, Jeffrey Frank rediscovers these two compelling figures with the sensitivity of a novelist and the discipline of a historian. He offers a fresh view of the younger Nixon as a striving tactician, as well as the ever more perplexing person that he became. He portrays Eisenhower, the legendary soldier, as a cold, even vain man with a warm smile whose sound instincts about war and peace far outpaced his understanding of the changes occurring in his own country. Eisenhower and Nixon shared striking characteristics: high intelligence, cunning, and an aversion to confrontation, especially with each other. Ike and Dick, informed by dozens of interviews and deep archival research, traces the path of their relationship in a dangerous world of recurring crises as Nixon's ambitions grew and Eisenhower was struck by a series of debilitating illnesses. And, as the 1968 election cycle approached and the war in Vietnam roiled the country, it shows why Eisenhower, mortally ill and despite his doubts, supported Nixon's final attempt to win the White House, a change influenced by a family matter: his grandson David's courtship of Nixon's daughter Julie--teenagers in love who understood the political stakes of their union.
On the eve of the 2000 election, the charmed life of Washington hostess Trudy Hopedale is quietly falling apart. Her daytime talk show is about to be hijacked by a younger, prettier assistant, and then there is the horrifying novel that her husband has written in secret, which contains some rather troubling implications for a former Foreign Service colleague. And what is her mother-in-law telling everyone? Trudy's dear friend Donald Frizze has benefited greatly from their friendship. A widely recognized expert on the U. S. vice presidency and a frequent guest on Trudy's program, Donald's latest scholarly pursuit is a highly anticipated biography of Garrett Augustus Hobart, McKinley's VP. Exactly who anticipates this book is hard to say, and soon Donald finds himself dodging the awkward questions of plagiarism and his sexuality, frequently during the same conversation. Amid tides of intrigue and shifting allegiances, this little town's extraordinary inhabitants swim helplessly, and alarmingly, toward their remarkable fates. With a bewitching sense of nostalgia, Jeffrey Frank has written an exquisitely funny, tender, and deeply perceptive novel that vividly invokes the simpler world of only yesterday.
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