While is may sometimes be true that personality is more important than policy, it isn’t always so.
On 12 February 1999, Bill Clinton survived his impeachment, despite having lied under oath and having committed “sexual acts” with a junior member of staff – things which would have resulted in the departure of most politicians. In chapter 10 of his book, Lessons from the Top, Gavin Esler describes how, at the time, the Senate majority leader, the Republican Trent Lott was utterly bewildered:
There are only a couple of things in my career that I still have not been able to understand. One is the fact that the American people apparently continued to support Clinton through the whole thing, knowing what he did, knowing what he said, knowing how he demeaned the office … I still think history needs to try to explain why the American people thought that was all okay.
I felt something of the same confusion over Trump’s election. Continue reading “Towards Solving the Trump Mystery”
Given the limited scope, the book, on the surface sounds as if it could have been very boring. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
I had been an admirer of Harris’s work for a number of years and bought this on the strength of his ability to inform, tease, and entertain me. I have to say that I found this the strangest of his thrillers to date, and yet one which was at the same time, satisfying.
What is different about the book is the extremely limited scope. There is limited terrorism, gunfire, bombs, and death, but all this takes place in a very minor capacity, almost at a tangent to the central focus. All of the main “action” takes place within the Vatican – within two buildings, in fact. The “action” is simply the election of a new pope.
Given the limited scope, the book, on the surface, sounds as if it could have been very boring. However, nothing could be further from the truth. By limiting his attention Harris has succeeded in creating a very intense, powerful portrayal of a religious and political intrigue. Continue reading “Ambition of Men”