Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics – Anonymous (Joe Klein)

Review From User :

When I bought this book the name on the cover was still "Anonymous" and the book was getting tremendous buzz because it was obvious Henry and Susan Stanton stood for Bill and Hilary Clinton and everyone was speculating someone close to them had to have written the book. But the reason I picked it up was simple. Back then I worked as a campaign staffer--in a presidential campaign no less, only on the state, not national level. And a fellow staffer told me I had to read this book--that it had the best description of what it's like inside a political campaign he had ever read.

He cited a particular passage about the ferocious pace and momentum of campaigns, and I skimmed through the book trying to find it, and this might have been it:

We moved into all of this so quickly that it was difficult to comprehend. It was as if we were being borne, actually propelled, through our schedule by a lunatic tide--we were sucked out of high school auditoriums. Kiwanis club luncheons, all the other stations of the cross, sucked into this narrow vortex, a combination of gauntlet and undertow.

But yes, this took me back--back to the land of coffee and donuts and no sleep, to all the cussin.' (I had been a rather priggish girl who wouldn't say even the mildest of oaths, a few months into campaign work I was lobbing F-bombs and S-words left and right. It has taken years to scrub my language clean of casual obscenity and I haven't completely succeeded.) But most of all the book gets right both what whets your taste for politics and for many causes distaste and disillusion. How Americans will forgive anything if you're charming and likable. That in politics you sell your soul for power and it's all good because you'll make up for all the reprehensible, dirty things you've done because you'll change the world! But what changes is you.

Note, I'm not involved in politics anymore.


Category: Adults, Bestsellers, Contemporary, Political

Primary Colors has its rich rewards as a savvy insider’s look at life on the stump. But it travels far beyond mere gossip and expose to discover a convincing world of its own, peopled by smart cookies, nutcases, and wheeler-dealers, whose public and private lives illuminate each other – sometimes by casting dark shadows.
Expand text… This story spans the novelistic spectrum from bedroom farce to high moral drama, and it paints a picture of the political state of the nation so vivid and authentic that one finds in it the deepest kind of truth – the kind of truth that only fiction can tell.

The book begins as an idealistic former congressional worker, Henry Burton, joins the presidential campaign of Southern governor Jack Stanton, a thinly disguised stand-in for Bill Clinton The plot then follows the primary election calendar beginning in New Hampshire where Stanton’s affair with Cashmere, his wife’s hairdresser, and his participation in a Vietnam War era protest come to light and threaten to derail his presidential prospects.

In Florida, Stanton revives his campaign by disingenuously portraying his Democratic opponent as insufficiently pro-Israel and as a weak supporter of Social Security. Burton becomes increasingly disillusioned with Stanton, who is a policy wonk who talks too long, eats too much and is overly flirtatious toward women. Stanton is also revealed to be insincere in his beliefs, saying whatever will help him to win. Matters finally come to a head, and Burton is forced to choose between idealism and realism.

There are so many characters to follow. Try to identify all the people whom characters may represent, and then check your guesses with the entry in Wikipedia.

Primary Colors

Chapter 01

Chapter 02

Chapter 03

Chapter 04

Chapter 05

Chapter 06

Chapter 07

Chapter 08

Chapter 09

Acknowledgements