THE GENTLEMAN FROM CALIFORNIA by Niven Busch

THE GENTLEMAN FROM CALIFORNIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

...or The Faking of the President - 1972. The subtitle is ours, but it fits Actually, as an Advise and Consent reminder that the road to the White House is sometimes pretty dirty, the novel almost succeeds. If Mr. Busch just hadn't gotten so intrigued with his political networks, he might have remembered to polish up his characters. As it is, we are faced with readable but unbelievable podium pounding. The story skitters around its central character Clay Belshaw, the ""Grass-roots"" candidate. Opposing him (and seldom heard from) is Gordon Graves the ""Fighting Defender"" (a title earned by his successful defense of a team of Space men captured as ""spies"" by the Russians). We follow Clay's career through the liberal use of flashbacks which are supposed to present the picture of a nice guy turned corrupt politician turned President. In the end he wins. During the course of his campaigns we see Clay accepting bribes, playing McCarthy- ""This is the statement I said I would produce. I'm going to tear it up. Now I'll tell you why I'm doing that;"" ruining his father-in-law (a political opponent...only nice guy in the book); having a political hazard committed to an institution; and distressing his faithful wife. As he launches into an extemporaneous harangue during his final acceptance speech she realizes that he was ""still compelled to keep on doing the one thing in the world he did best: running for office."" O Beautiful for---mule!

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 1965
Publisher: Simon & Schuster