FACE TO FACE by Edward A. Rogers


Email this review


Mr. Rogers was the television advisor to Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 dential campaign. It was he who groomed the vice-president for the historic TV debates; and such a televised confrontation is the subject of this first novel... A is made between the North American Broadcasting Company and Governor Joseph Green, candidate of the opposition party. The network promises to ""deliver"" incumbent-party candidate Andrew Conger -- Conger had astutely refused Green's challenge for debate, recognizing that in such a forensic dual he, as defender of the administration, would be at a distinct disadvantage -- in return for which the governor promises to suspend the ""equal-time-for-all"" ruling, an irksome bane to network functioning, and throw a post for Fred Morgan, network head, in his cabinet. The purveyors of public interest, convenience and necessity propagandize vehemently until Conger accepts the challenge and it becomes the job of Charles Drake, fictional counterpart of Edward Rogers, to supervise Conger's development in the medium. Months of machination and preparation ensue. The book ends as the show hits the air. The author obviously intended a kind of ""cathodic"" Advise and Consent but came off instead with a rather inept ""dry-run"". The issues are here-- Beauty contest or legitimate meeting of minds? The morally ineffectual networks and their supreme significance if we are to have a tubular president? But there is neither the eloquence nor the sustaining power that made Drury's novel almost impossible to put down. A disappointing book which could be pushed beyond its merits.

Pub Date: May 8th, 1962
Publisher: Morrow