imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Thursday, June 23, 2005
LUCKY BASTARD(s), INDEED!
I was reading Peggy Noonan's column today in which she says, We need a serious book about Hillary Clinton. Ed Klein's isn't it.
[T]he problem all Hillary biographers have: It's too grim to believe. To believe that her story as presented by the books so far is true is to believe that she has clung to a premeditated plan for 40 years, that she is ruthless in the pursuit both of her own ambitions and of a deep and intractable leftist political agenda. And that she found her equal in a partner sufficiently hardhearted to stick with the plan, and the secrecy, and the weirdness. It's too over the top. It seems hard to believe, not because it isn't true but because it isn't likely, usual, expected. It isn't the kind of biography we are used to in our leaders. That is her great advantage.
Instead, Noonan suggested: For those who'd enjoy an excellent fictional gloss on [the Clintons'] story, see Charles McCarry's  "Lucky Bastard." Which sounded like an acceptable alternative for those of us who can easily believe most (but definitely not all) of Klein's sordid Clinton tales while not wanting to sully "our side" by reading it.
"Lucky Bastard" must be something special because the cheapest one I found was a used edition at Amazon for $36.74. You could get a new edition starting at $90.00 and running up to $599.95.
B&N was my next stop; they only had used copies beginning at $39.02 up to $334.95 for an autographed copy of an ARC (advance reader copy).
Alibris had used copies beginning at $39.26 and new copies beginning at $199.95.
Bill Clinton as Lech, Coward -- and Soviet Agent Farce takes a fictional swipe at the president
McCarry, who has co-authored two books with Alexander Haig, is clearly no friend to Democrats. His last novel -- ``Shelley's Heart,'' a gripper -- shared some of the themes of ``Lucky Bastard.'' But clever plotting, intriguing characters and a good eye for Washington detail made ``Shelley's Heart'' effective. There, McCarry's rancor was a device. In ``Lucky Bastard,'' rancor is all there is.
Although most of the story stretches credulity, McCarry's portrait of Adams [Clinton] captures only too well today's narcissistic political candidates: Telegenic politicians who manage to be articulate without saying anything are proliferating.
More disturbing is McCarry's description of American voters. They are smitten by Jack's charm and fall for his lies. When Morgan worries that the true source of his campaign funds will be exposed, Jack nonchalantly shrugs off the potential danger. Not to worry, he concludes. No one's going to believe that he's a KGB or Beijing dupe who got this far by spending drug lords' profits. It's too preposterous.
Peggy Noonan had a good idea, and the book does sound quite interesting, but I'm financially challenged -- most days I'm sliding by on financial fumes as it is -- so I won't be spending money I don't have on the this book, especially since it originally retailed for $24.95. Seems as though the only lucky bastards are the people who sell this book at these exorbitant prices.
But the question remains: What gives with those prices?