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The Last Thing He Wanted
by Joan Didion
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679752854, Paperback)Elena McMahon is a reporter for the Washington Post and the unlikely inheritor of her father's complex and secretive life as an arms dealer for the U.S. Government in Central America. The year is 1984, and as she flies to an unnamed island off the coast of Costa Rica, she is oblivious to the spies, American military personnel, and the consequences of her father's errors that await her. She's also unprepared for the advances of Treat Morrison, an American diplomat whose service under six administrations has made him a "crisis junkie." Treat narrates this story, offering a unique perspective on Elena, a woman who abandons one life for another.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)
This intricate, fast-paced story, whose many scenes and details fit together like so many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, is Didion's incisive and chilling look at a modern world where things are not working as they should and where the oblique and official language is as sinister as the events it is covering up.The narrator introduces Elena McMahon, estranged from a life of celebrity fundraisers and from her powerful West Coast husband, Wynn Janklow, whom she has left, taking Catherine, her daughter, to become a reporter for The Washington Post. Suddenly walking off the 1984 campaign, she finds herself boarding a plane for Florida to see her father, Dick McMahon. She becomes embroiled in her Dick's business though she had trained herself since childhood not to have any interest in what he was doing. It is from this moment that she is caught up in something much larger than she could have imagined, something that includes Ambassador-at-Large Treat Austin Morrison and Alexander Brokaw, the ambassador to an unnamed Caribbean island. Into this startling vision of conspiracies, arms dealing, and assassinations, Didion makes connections among Dallas, Iran-Contra, and Castro, and points up how spectral companies with high-concept names tended to interlock. As this book builds to its terrifying finish, we see the underpinnings of a dark historical underbelly. This is our system, the one trying to create a context for democracy and getting its] hands a little dirty in the process.
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