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Mark Leibovich

This Town

Mark Leibovich This Town Two Parties And A Funeral Plus Plenty Of Valet P
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Biographical note:

Mark Leibovich is The New York Times Magazine chief national correspondent, based in Washington, D.C.  In 2011, he received a National Magazine Award for his story on Politico's Mike Allen and the changing media culture of Washington. Prior to coming to the Times Magazine, Leibovich was a national political reporter in the Times' DC bureau. He has also worked at The Washington Post, The San Jose Mercury News and The Boston Phoenix, and is the author of The New Imperialists, a collection of profiles on technology pioneers. Leibovich lives with his family in Washington.
 

Excerpt from book:

Prologue

June 2008

Tim Russert is dead. But the room was alive.

You can’t work it too hard at a memorial service, obviously. It’s the kind of thing people notice. But the big-ticket Washington departure rite can be such a great networking opportunity. You can almost feel the ardor behind the solemn faces: lucky stampedes of power mourners, about two thousand of them, wearing out the red-carpeted aisles of the Kennedy Center.

Before the service, people keep rushing down the left-hand aisle to get to Robert Gibbs, the journeyman campaign spokesman who struck gold with the right patron, Barack Obama, soon to be the first African-American nominee of a major party. If Obama gets elected, Gibbs is in line to be the White House press secretary. Gibbs is the son of librarians, two of the 10 percent of white Alabamans who will support Obama in November. “Bobby,” as he was known back home, hated to read as a child and grew up to be a talker, now an increasingly hot one.

He keeps getting approached in airports and on the street for his autograph. He is a destination for a populace trained to view human interaction through the prism of “How can this person be helpful to me?” Gibbs has become potentially whoppingly helpful. People seek out and congratulate him for his success and that of his candidate, especially at tribal gatherings like this, a grand send-off for the host of Meet the Press.

Next to Gibbs presides another beneficial destination: David Axelrod, a Democratic media consultant and kibitzing walrus of a mensch who orchestrated Obama’s run to the 2008 Democratic nomination. Known as “Axe,” Axelrod is a sentimental RFK Democrat whose swoon over Obama is unrivaled even by Gibbs’s. (Gibbs once called Axe “the guy who walks in front of Obama with rose petals.”) Noting the big run on Gibbs and Axelrod, a columnist for Politico told me they were the new “it guys” at the service, and of course they were, in part for devising a communications strategy predicated on indifference to this very onrushing club of D.C.’s Leading Thinkers.

Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are mobbed as well; they can barely get to their seats: assaulted with kudos for the success of Morning Joe, their dawn roundtable on MSNBC and a popular artery in the bloodstream of the Leading Thinkers. People keep pressing business cards into the cohosts’ palms, eager to get themselves booked, or their clients booked, or their books mentioned, just once, by Joe or Mika. “A new low, even for Washington tackiness,” Mika will lament of the funereal hustle. But it’s important to be part of the conversation, anyone would understand. You seize your momentwhen it comes.

Bill and Hillary Clinton walk stiffly down the left aisle. Heads lurch and the collective effects are unmistakable: that exotic D.C. tingle falls over the room, the kind that comes with proximity to Superpowers. Bill and Hill. They are given wide berth. It had been a tough stretch. Hillary has just conceded the Democratic nomination. It ended an epic primary saga in which Bill had disgraced

"This Town is funny, it's interesting, and it is demoralizing ... I loved it as much as you can love something which hurts your heart."John Oliver, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

“In addition to his reporting talents, Leibovich is a writer of excellent zest. At times his book is laugh-out-loud (as well as weep-out-loud). He is an exuberant writer, even as his reporting leaves one reaching for Xanax…[This Town] is vastly entertaining and deeply troubling.”—Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

"It's been the summer of This Town. What lingers from This Town is what will linger in Washington well after its current dinosaurs are extinct: the political culture owned by big money."—Frank Rich, New York Magazine

"
Many decades from now, a historian looking at where America lost its way could use This Town as a primary source."—Fareed Zakaria

“Here it is, Washington in all its splendid, sordid glory…[Leibovich] seems to wear those special glasses that allow you to x-ray the outside and see what’s really going on. Start to finish, this is a brilliant portrait – pointillist, you might say, or modern realist. So brilliant that once it lands on a front table at Politics & Prose Leibovich will never be able to have lunch in this town again. There are also important insights tucked in among the barbs…So here’s to all the big mouths, big shots, big machers, and big jerks. In case you’re wondering, Mark Leibovich is on to every one of you, and his portrayal of This Town is spot on.” David Shribman, The New York Times

“In his new book This Town, Mark Leibovich commits an act of treason against the Washington establishment… Thoroughly entertaining… Leibovich is a keen observer and energetic writer.”—Reid Pillifant, New York Observer
 
This Town is a frothy Beltway insider tell-all …rollicking fun and sharply written. A big, sprawling fun beach read of a book—snappy and well-crafted.”—Susan Gardner, The Daily Kos
 
This Town is as entertaining for the broader picture it paints of a capital that corrupts even the most incorruptible as it is for the salacious gossip that dominated early reviews. Books like Leibovich’s are important resources for historians who, a century from now, will use This Town as a trove of background information for a pivotal period when our politics became poisonous.”—Reid Wilson, The National Journal
 
“Leibovich delivers the reportorial goods. He is in all the parties, and supplies a wildly entertaining anthrolopogical tour.”—Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine
 
“Leibovich has written a very funny book about how horrible his industry can be… Uncommonly honest.”David Weigel, Slate
 
“[Leibovich] is a master of the political profile… This Town is as insidery as Game Change”Carlos Lozada, Washington Post
 
“Intensely anticipated…. [Leibovich] has a real affection for many of his characters… [and] also throws a few unapologetically hard punches.” Ben Smith, Buzzfeed

“Witty, entertaining….the book is enlightening on how journalism is practiced in Washington…This Town could also be source material for your book about what’s wrong with these horrible people and – more importantly, but also much more difficult – how to fix the cu
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