Washington, D.C. is a political town, of course, so it comes as no surprise that the Washington Post would take a look at this year's crop of political books.
Last Sunday's Book World featured short reviews of four new volumes by or about politicians, three of whom are running for president. John McCain, Joe Biden, and John Edwards are the presidential hopefuls, while Russ Feingold, the "maverick" senator from Wisconsin, might have been one himself.
Let's start with the veteran McCain. His book, written with his aide Mark Salter, is Hard Call, featuring this intriguing subtitle: "Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them."
The book tells the stories of "gutsy, contrarian" heroes in science, sports, and business, including King Camp Gillette, the "father of the disposable razor." The subtext is clear, reviewer Alan Cooperman writes: Here is a politician who will take a stand and stick to it.
The Post reviewer wonders, however, why McCain offers no case studies of people who stuck to their really bad decisions.
Joe Biden's book, Promises to Keep, sounds plenty dull. But Cooperman says the Delaware senator's life is more dramatic than expected and ends up as a "lively read." Who would have guessed?
The Edwards book is, surprisingly, a serious study of the problem of American poverty. Ending Poverty in America, edited by Edwards and two others, is "wonky in the extreme," Cooperman writes. The book shows that Edwards is the thinking man's populist, Cooperman concludes.
The final book, Feingold: A New Democratic Party, is something of a disappointment, especially for a politician known for his outspokenness. Written by Sanford Horwitt, the book pulls its punches, a fact which, in Cooperman's view, renders it more hagiography than honest biography.
We've not read any of these books, though we confess to thumbing through a couple of them at the bookstore. From what we can tell, there's plenty here to keep the political junkies busy for several weeks of late night reading.