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Best political books ever?

January 29, 2010

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has been asking readers of his blog The Fix to weigh in on the best political books, fiction and non-fiction, out there.

Cillizza posted his favorites on the blog today –

FICTION: ” All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren. Released in the mid 1940s and based not-so-loosely on the life of Louisiana Gov. Huey Long, Penn Warren writes beautifully and insightfully about what politics can cost those who play it at the highest levels. The fact that it’s narrator — Jack Burden — is a journalist doesn’t hurt either. It is ranked as the 36th best fiction work ever by Modern Library.

NON FICTION: ” What It Takes” by Richard Ben Cramer. No piece of non-fiction written before or since better captures well, what it takes, to run and win the presidency than this work written by Ben Kramer of the 1988 presidential campaign. The portraits of Gary Hart, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Dick Gephardt and, of course, Vice President George H.W. Bush are perfectly crafted and even today ring true.

I’ll definitely second his choice for All the King’s Men as the best fiction (though nearly nonfiction). It’s a book that offers a great story, great insight into southern politics and wonderful use of language.

Not sure what I would choose for nonfiction. I do have to put in a plug for a book written by my father, Howard E. Covington Jr. and Marion EllisTerry Sanford: Politics, Progress and Outrageous Ambition. For those with roots in North Carolina, like myself, this is a must read as Sanford was one of the most influential governors the state has seen, and he went on to serve in the U.S. Senate and as president of Duke University. A great read, indeed.

One of my favorites would also have to be Timothy Crouse‘s The Boys on the Bus which is a look inside the 1972 presidential campaign, and the journalists who covered it. The book is one of the primary reasons I got into journalism, and has always been a favorite.

So what are your choices?

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