Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wag the Dog Beinhart

I chose Wag the Dog as a light read to balance Bob Woodward's latest 'The War Within'. I didn't finish Woodward's book - so much detail I couldn't unravel but I did enjoy the conclusions. I did finish Wag the Dog.

What a scandalous mix of fact, fiction and conjecture. Beinhart even includes himself in the narrative, as the scribe. Footnotes and a last chapter on the first Gulf War complete the reality warp.

If you've seen the movie then the book is different. It is the same premise told from different characters' perspectives. There's a Hollywood PI/former Nam vet hardness here. As the author writes Barry Levinson had to make movie choices, he made book choices in the plot.

Bush Senior's ratings are going down and what could bring them up? A war. Like Maggie Thatcher's. This is Lee Atwater's last idea. And who could produce this war? Why, Hollywood - they've been so successful staging other wars. Now which mover and shaker, which director. It just gets better.

But this is Top Secret, we need a security firm. Here's Joe, our hero, a loyal maverick. He is willing to ferret out this secret for his lady love, a luscious Hollywood star. This coupling of Hollywood and Washington took me to a new level of cynicism. This book would be a great book club read especially if you threw in the movie as well.

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