author C.C.Cole's blog

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On Political Bestsellers

As I continue to move out of “Fifty Shades” and continue with my out-of-genre reading journey, I’ve hit what I call the “Political genre.”  During the American Presidential election season, with 24/7 news, Internet, old school broadcast and word of mouth, I’m reminded of how glad I am that this happens every four years.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong supporter of our Republic, but if there is ever a season of over stimulation, it’s a hotly contested Presidential election year.

While reading an article by one of the smart people in the media, I ran upon one of the “hit-books” of our President, “The Amateur” by Edward Klein.  I don’t usually read these books, but I thought, since this is a bestseller, and part of being a writer is to know what people are reading, I downloaded it and gave it a chance.

The questions I asked myself:  Can a political book be balanced?  Many of these books are written by reporters, and give some vivid detail with actual dialogue of famous political figures and family members.  As we know, they cannot reveal their sources.  Are these tapes?  Or did this dialogue come from a steel-trap memory of a witness to the conversation?  Or is there a disclaimer somewhere that I missed?  (Likely).  Biggest question:  Can a political book be reviewed with balance?

In “The Amateur” the writer gives a political summary of the President’s first term from the standpoint mostly from the executive branch of the US Government. The appearance of games to us as we see it in the news is a serious game in reality.  Decisions that affect billions of people worldwide isn’t reality TV or WarCraft.  The book gives the reader an unflattering hefty detailed account of one Presidential blunder after another, with aggressive legislation, executive orders, and controversial meetings with longtime allies; “hit piece” stuff to fans and truths to non-fans.

On the other hand, I found a few points in “The Amateur” where “bashing” was subject to interpretation.  If the President didn’t feel obligated to socially host certain high profile celebrities or wealthy political families, to me that is up to him and his family.  What obligation does a President have to help others make money off of him?  Why does he have to please famous people because they are famous?  In a sense, being “Amateur” is being independent in his own way, though not the way of “the establishment.”  I think the point was potential donor alienation, which is another serious part of the “game.”

Overall, I didn’t hate this book, and didn’t put it on the highest tier because so much of it is regurgitation of what is already seen in the media.  The President’s policies are hardly a secret. One either agrees with them or not.  Lots of people read these books. I’ve written before how politics is a “hot button” topic, and it’s because politics affects us all.

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