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Citizens of the Green Room: Profiles in…
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Citizens of the Green Room: Profiles in Courage and Self-Delusion

by Mark Leibovich

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Showing 4 of 4
Not a sequel to 'This Town' Author Mark Leibovich made a huge splash with his book, This Town, with its gossip and stories of politicians, lobbyists, media people, etc. of Washington, DC. The rise and fall of staffers, the back stabbings of politicians, the scheming, the drama, etc. All a political junkie's dream. This book promised to (or at least sounded like) it was somewhat similar. These personalities that go and sit in a green room before interviews.
 
Sadly, it is not. I did not realize it was a collection of his old profiles until I re-read Mike Allen's story. Thankfully I realized that it was just that--profiles of people. From Hillary Clinton to Andrew Card, various media types, politicos and staffers their their day in the spotlight. However, it's only the "big" names that get their due and get those long profiles you might read in the newspaper.
 
Not having read everything by Leibovich before, it was interesting to read up on people like John Kerry, Chris Christie, etc. Some are quite touching, including a sort of closing piece on Sen. Ted Kennedy. Others were quite boring: I wasn't interested in Andrew Card or Ted Kennedy Jr, so I skipped their chapters.
 
If you're a political junkie and follow US politics and elections (or read a lot of the author's work), a lot of this probably familiar, if not entirely rehashed info. While a lot of it was quite interesting, I had been looking forward to the narrative that propelled Town. While certainly people who appear in one place (Clinton) certainly pop up in other profiles, there is no overarching "story." It's a collection of pieces that are not really tied together, or perhaps are grouped as such as the author/editor liked.
 
He's not a bad writer at all, but don't think you're getting a sequel to his other book. If you're really interested in someone who's in this book, it might be a good check-out or super cheap buy if you need it as a reference. Otherwise I'd say it's for political junkies. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
One of my major gripes during the last election (an election Trump insists was fraudulent - I agree, let's do it over) was the myopia of the Washington media who spent the entire election cycle talking to each other and refusing to examine the obvious currents of dissatisfaction with Washington and the "elites" who reside there and run the country. (They all read and absorb "Playbook" produced by Mike Allen - read the essays to understand what that is and why it's important.)

Leibovich, who writes for the Times, specializes in writing profiles of those in Washington. He's more self-aware than some others about where he fits in the Washington swamp, but his insights into the relationship between the media and Washington insiders and how residing there affects them and their lives are valuable. This book is an older collection of those essays. They remain relevant and interesting. The profile of Glenn Beck is particularly interesting and revealing on how and why Beck is the way he is. His show on Fox was known in the ad world as "empty calories: he draws great ratings but is toxic to ad sales."

The mnemonic techniques of Andrew Card, patterned after that of a 16th century monk, are startling to say the least. I have read of other people who create "castles" of the mind where memories are stored for easy retrieval; Card uses a kitchen with some things in the freezer, others on one of the burners, etc.

Even though some of the essays are more than a decade old, the comments and profiles are as fresh as if there were written yesterday. His comments on campaigning and the relationship between reporters (badgered by the 24/7 news cycle and bored to tears by the candidates' canned speeches) and the candidates are just as pertinent today as they were 10 years ago. "Politics is not about objective reality, but about virtual reality . . . an infinitely revisable [and risible] docudrama."

Some fun quotes: "Chris Matthews is trapped in a tired caricature" "The demise of the cable blow-hard" "Rick Santorum is like Forrest Gump with an attitude." His essay on fakery in Washington and pretending to have read the "Economist" is priceless. ( )
  ecw0647 | Oct 1, 2017 |
I was really looking forward to this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed Leibovich's previous work, "This Town". Unfortunately, while there was some new ground covered, this book was full of old news and stories. It's sad, because the author can do so much better. ( )
  1Randal | May 22, 2016 |
I was really looking forward to this book, as I thoroughly enjoyed Leibovich's previous work, "This Town". Unfortunately, while there was some new ground covered, this book was full of old news and stories. It's sad, because the author can do so much better. ( )
  1Randal | Mar 24, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399171924, Hardcover)

Author of the groundbreaking #1 New York Times bestseller This Town, Mark Leibovich returns with a masterly collection of portraits of Washington’s elite, and wannabe elites. Hailed by The Washington Post as a “master of the political profile,” Leibovich has spent his career writing memorable, buzz-worthy, and often jaw-dropping features about politicians and other notables. Currently chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, Leibovich punctures the inflated personas of the powerful, and in Citizens of the Green Room, he reveals the lives, stories, and peculiarities behind the public masks.

A brilliant reporter with a talent for subversive, engaging storytelling, Leibovich maintains a refreshing conviviality with many of his subjects even as he renders incisive and unflinching assessments. His features have driven the national conversation while exposing the fallibilities of the kingmakers and media stars: consider his 2007 profile of Hillary Clinton, which unearthed a treasure trove of old letters that the then senator had written as a vulnerable young college student; or his much-talked-about 2010 portrait of Glenn Beck, which laid bare the tortured soul and precarious standing of the once invincible host and his uneasy relationship with his soon-to-be ex-employer FOX News. In the political arena, Leibovich’s portraits  of John Kerry, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and John McCain are already classics; they invariably remind us that great journalism and stylish writing are not only essential to the Republic but necessary to maintain the citizenry’s sanity and humor in the face of made-for-TV government.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:05 -0400)

"A collection of political profiles and other reportage by Mark Leibovich, the author of This Town"-- "Author of the groundbreaking #1 New York Times bestseller This Town, Mark Leibovich returns with a masterly collection of portraits of Washington's elite, and wannabe elites. Hailed by The Washington Post as a 'master of the political profile,' Leibovich has spent his career writing memorable, buzz-worthy, and often jaw-dropping features about politicians and other notables. Currently chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, Leibovich punctures the inflated personas of the powerful, and in Citizens of the Green Room, he reveals the lives, stories, and peculiarities behind the public masks. A brilliant reporter with a talent for subversive, engaging storytelling, Leibovich maintains a refreshing conviviality with many of his subjects even as he renders incisive and unflinching assessments. His features have driven the national conversation while exposing the fallibilities of the kingmakers and media stars: consider his 2007 profile of Hillary Clinton, which unearthed a treasure trove of old letters that the then senator had written as a vulnerable young college student; or his much-talked-about 2010 portrait of Glenn Beck, which laid bare the tortured soul and precarious standing of the once invincible host and his uneasy relationship with his soon-to-be ex-employer FOX News. In the political arena, Leibovich's portraits of John Kerry, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, and John McCain are already classics; they invariably remind us that great journalism and stylish writing are not only essential to the Republic but necessary to maintain the citizenry's sanity and humor in the face of made-for-TV government"--… (more)

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