PEACE, WAR, AND POLITICS by Jack Anderson

PEACE, WAR, AND POLITICS

An Eyewitness Account
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a memoir by turns obnoxious and absorbing, the legendary raker of muck, a Pulitzer winner who made Washington news for a half-century while covering it, tells all. A Utah Mormon whose first journalistic scoop exposed unlawful polygamy in his church, Anderson already had a sensational past as an exotic war correspondent in China when he became the protÇgÇ of master gadfly Drew Pearson in 1947. Pearson introduced Anderson to the byzantine byways of the capital and bequeathed to the neophyte a philosophy to muckrake by: “write a good column,” he told Anderson. It was advice the young journalist took to heart when he took over the Pearson’s column, “Washington Merry Go-Round,” in 1969. Anderson cultivated sources in every administration since Truman to keep his hard- hitting column supplied with a yeasty potpourri of facts and allegations. As a result, Anderson discomfited presidents, congressmen, and bureaucrats with public disclosures of corruption, venality, and incompetence, and, in his zeal for the scoop, may have sometimes humiliated his targets with reportorial overreaching (Anderson apologizes, in particular, for a column laced with innuendoes about the sexual preferences of Spiro Agnew’s son). Anderson seems to have been at the center of every major Washington scandal—Watergate, Abscam, the Bert Lance—BCCI scandal, the Iran-contra deal—and many minor ones, most of which he exposed for the first time in his column. Anderson felt the rage of the powerful: he was dogged by the CIA and FBI, audited by the IRS, subjected to lawsuit after lawsuit, even given the supreme honor of a place on Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.” Though Anderson’s righteous tone can irritate, his colorful stories fascinate, and he makes a persuasive case that a democracy needs mavericks like him to expose clandestine presidential deals, violations of public trust, and secret abuses of power A worthy summation of the work of a Washington outsider who made a distinguished career out of exposing the insiders. ($100,000 ad/promo; TV/radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-85602-4
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999




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