Slate readers pick their favorite political book.

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Jan. 28 2011 7:32 AM

Democracy the Novel

Slate readers pick their favorite political book.

Democracy: An American Novel

The readers have spoken. Last week, prompted by the release of the anonymously authored O: A Presidential Novel, I listed my favorite political novels and asked readers to share theirs. I had picked Washington, D.C.; The Best Man; and Advise and Consent. I knew my list was inadequate and wanted your help filling out my bookshelf, or at least helping me seem more learned around the office, which is a constant battle.

John Dickerson John Dickerson

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

Your clear favorite was Democracy, by Henry Adams. Written in 1880, it proves my point that we must reach pretty far back into history to find a decent tale about Washington. Readers said that the book captures the conflict of interests and struggle for power that has the city locked up so tight to this day.

Like O, Democracy was published anonymously, and the mystery of its authorship lasted for almost 40 years. It was only until Adams died that his publisher revealed that the author of one of the great nonfiction works of all time History of the United States During the Jefferson and Madison Administrations could also write compelling fiction.

Things have changed. The anonymity of the author of O didn't last a week. That's if Time magazine's Mark Halperin is correct. He reports that Mark Salter, a former close aide to John McCain, is the author of the book. The publisher boasted that the book was written by someone who "was in the room with President Obama." By this standard I will soon be writing a thinly veiled authoritative novel about Bob Dylan.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. Runner-up choices included Thank You for Smoking, Christopher Buckley's comic novel about a tobacco lobbyist (which was made into a film), Seven Days inMay, a thriller also made into a film about a military plot to overthrow the president, Echo House, the story of three generations of a powerful Washington family, and Gore Vidal's Burr about one of the most infamous founders.

In the coming months, the Slate Political Gabfest will hold an audio book club on Democracy. Stay tuned for details.

Become a fan of Slate  and  John Dickerson  on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?