When I picked up this book, I had my doubts.  The Whole Damn Deal: Robert  Strauss and the Art of Politics (PublicAffairs, $29.99) is about political rainmaker Robert Strauss, and the author, Kathryn F. McGarr is his great-niece. Then I started reading. And I couldn’t stop. Not only is Strauss endlessly interesting (especially to those of us who suffered through the Democratic Party’s struggles and triumphs in the late 20th century), his great-niece is a terrific researcher who knows how to weave a tale. She is a young Stanford grad and aspiring historian whose book grew out of her studies at Columbia Journalism School. And while she can’t conceal her affection for the man she is writing about, she refused to give him editorial license, working hard to maintain her literary independence without severing her family ties. The end result is a fascinating—and highly entertaining—chronicle of one of Washington’s most skillful, colorful, and irrepressible players. One can’t help wondering after reading this book: What if Bob Strauss were pulling America’s political strings today?

The Whole Damn Deal: Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781586488772
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: PublicAffairs - October 11th, 2011

In the past twenty years, since he won the Pulitzer for The Prize, his encyclopedic history of the discovery of oil and the ensuing battles for control over the world’s supply, Daniel Yergin, our neighbor, has become the global media’s go-to expert on all matters about oil, energy, and geopolitics. The media loves him not only because he is so smart, but because he has the rare ability to communicate his knowledge clearly. The exploding growth in energy demand and the growing awareness of the ominous effects of energy use on Earth’s climate are the two major global issues that require national leaders to come to consensus, and Yergin clearly lays out what and where the options are. The New York Times book critic Dwight Garner says Yergin’s new The Quest (Penguin Press, $37.95) should be required reading for “C.E.O.s, conservationists, lawmakers, generals, spies, tech geeks, and thriller writers,” and that means a lot of people in Washington.

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143121947
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - September 26th, 2012

In Ron Suskind’s thorough depiction of the financial and political worlds of the first years of the Obama administration, he says that “confidence is the public face of competence.  Separating the two—gaining the trust without earning it—is the age-old work of confidence men.” This simple statement lays bare the themes Suskind explores in Confidence Men (HarperCollins, $29.99), his fast-paced, highly detailed investigation of the inner workings of Washington D.C. and New York City since the financial crisis of 2008. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer introduces us to numerous characters—predominantly male, boorish, and sexist—who once confidently acted as masters of the universe, yet were brought down to Earth by the recent financial shake-up. Be grateful there are journalists like Suskind to give us insight into what happened and why.

Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061430466
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Harper Perennial - June 19th, 2012