A Novel

eBook - 2015
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A New York Times Notable Book

One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post , San Francisco Chronicle , The Daily Beast , The Miami Herald , St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Adding to a fiction chronicle that has already spanned American history from the Lincoln assassination to the Watergate scandal, Thomas Mallon now brings to life the tumultuous administration of the most consequential and enigmatic president in modern times.

Finale captures the crusading ideologies, blunders, and glamour of the still-hotly-debated Reagan years, taking readers to the political gridiron of Washington, the wealthiest enclaves of Southern California, and the volcanic landscape of Iceland, where the president engages in two almost apocalyptic days of negotiation with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Along with Soviet dissidents, illegal-arms traders, and antinuclear activists, the novel's memorable characters include Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Pamela Harriman, John W. Hinckley, Jr. (Reagan's would-be assassin), and even Bette Davis, with whom the president had long ago appeared onscreen. Several figures--including a humbled, crafty Richard Nixon; the young, brilliantly acerbic Christopher Hitchens; and an anxious, astrology-dependent Nancy Reagan (on the verge of a terrible realization)--become the eyes through which readers see the last convulsions of the Cold War, the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, and a political revolution.

At the center of it all--but forever out of reach--is Ronald Reagan himself, whose genial remoteness confounds his subordinates, his children, and the citizens who elected him.

Finale is the book that Thomas Mallon's work has been building toward for years. It is the most entertaining and panoramic novel about American politics since Advise and Consent, more than a half century ago.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2015]
ISBN: 9780307907936
Branch Call Number: EBOOK OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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Apr 16, 2016

Historical fiction can both be entertaining and frustrating. While it's enjoyable to read about real people in a fictional context, you also feel that the author is just giving you his or her view of them, which may not have much basis in fact. Thomas Mallon, who also wrote a novel about Watergate, takes Ronald Reagan and his circle as his subject for "Finale." Part of its appeal is all the famous people showing up, from Christopher Hitchens to Richard Nixon, from Jimmy Carter to Bette Davis. Yet Mallon doesn't really get past the surface with any of these characters, nor give much a sense of the political climate of the 1980s. It's also about 100 pages too long. "All the Houses" is a better novel about the period.

Mar 12, 2016

this book is good


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