PARTY POLITICS: The Confessions of a Washington Party-Giver by Peter Malatesta

PARTY POLITICS: The Confessions of a Washington Party-Giver

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Most party-givers on Washington, D.C.'s ""candlelight circuit"" view social functions as a means of gaining access to the powerful; Peter Malatesta cultivates access to the powerful in order to throw parties. He had a headstart--we learn from this rambling, diary-like account of his career--growing up, as Bob Hope's nephew, among the stars in Hollywood. His early memories include caddying for Marilyn Monroe and visiting the Tin Woodsman on the set of The Wizard of Oz. Largely through his ability to arrange golfing foursomes for then-Vice President Spiro Agnew with the likes of Hope and Frank Sinatra, Malatesta is later taken on as a traveling aide to Agnew. Though his high-profile lifestyle raises eyebrows in official Washington, Malatesta feels that he has bigger fish to fly. On the eve of his first major party, he writes: ""I anticipated some flack from the Oval Office but, hell, I thought I'm ready for a social debut and 1600 Pennsylvania will get over it."" One almost imagines Malatesta stirring martinis with one hand while patting himself on the back with the other. Now and again, there's a nice bit--as when Malatesta arranges a cozy dinner for two with Agnew, only to accidentally pour his roommate's marijuana into the marinara sauce, mistaking it for oregano; Agnew, he reports, was ""unusually animated and the conversation got downright heady."" Through it all, Malatesta remains the eager innocent. His jaw drops as Agnew goes down the tubes: ""Had I, after all, been nothing more than a stooge for a guilty man?"" he asks--and promptly goes into business with Tongsun Park. (His career is presently in decline.) With a cast that seems to include everyone Malatesta has ever met--whether or not they say or do anything noteworthy--this is for chronic celebrity-gawkers only.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1982
Publisher: Prentice-Hall