Sunday, July 24, 2011
WHAT ARE YOU
READING By Joe Preiner Read more responses and add your thoughts at www.ljworld.com
Sex, lies and politics Larry Flynt’s book bares politicians’ scandalous behaviors
Erin Ashcraft, horse trainer, Lawrence “’The Sherlockian’ by Graham By Howard Gensler Philadelphia Daily News Moore. It’s like a Sherlock Holmes kind of book. My PHILADELPHIA — Weary of friend told me about it and sex scandals that have rocked said I would want to read it.” all portions of our government in recent years, there’s a lot of talk on the campaign trail about getting back to the principles of our nation’s Founding Fathers. That sentiment may change if people read the new book, “One Nation Under Sex,” by Larry Flynt and historian David Eisenbach, because men such as Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson Paige Schauf, would make Bill Clinton, cashier, Eliot Spitzer and Arnold Iola Schwarzenegger seem like “’The Princess Bride’ by William Goldman. The movie choirboys, and the partisan press of their era would make pretty much follows the the tabloids of today read like book.” children’s books. Flynt and Eisenbach, however, are not simply concerned about getting under the covers, or hiding in the closets, of the White House. Their book deals with how the private lives of politicians have affected the nation’s public policies — how Franklin’s womanizing helped the colonists gain the support of France, how President James Buchanan’s alleged homosexJim Garcia, uality helped bring about the retired, Civil War, how Franklin RooLawrence “The Bible. I pretty much only sevelt’s affair(s) forced shy wife Eleanor out of her shell to read Christian books.” become one of the great first ladies. Of course, there are whole chapters on Clinton and the Kennedys (according to the authors, John Kennedy said that he would get migraines if he didn’t have sex with different women; brother Bobby Kennedy had an affair with Jackie after the president’s death; and Mary Jo Kopechne, who died in brother Ted Kennedy’s car at Judy Smith, marketing representative, Chappaquiddick, had previously been Bobby’s mistress). Lawrence Flynt, the well-known “’Reconciliation’ by Thich pornographer and activist, Nhat Hahn. It’s about reteaching and reparenting said in an interview earlier this month that he’s always your inner child.” been interested in politics and that when he was talking
By Gaylord Dold McClatchy Newspapers
Before too much of the 19th century had exhausted itself in revolution and bloody war, travel, which had once been the province of solitary wayfarers, was being transformed into an industry, KU alumna, ex-FDIC thanks largely to the efforts of in London. head Bair has book deal Cooks Travel, from the times of NEW YORK (AP)— Sheila Bair, a Herodotus and later the key government official during Romans, was a dangerous the 2008 financial crisis — and undertaking, only for the a KU alumna — has a book deal. intrepid who would voluntarThe Free Press will publish ily endure hardship, uncerBair’s “Bull by the Horns” next tainty, loneliness and even year, before the 2012 election. death in order to catch Bair was appointed head of the glimpses of exotic places, Federal Deposit Insurance unheard-of tribes, and perCorp. in 2006 and stepped ilous landscapes full of wild down July 8. Free Press pubbeasts or cannibals. lisher Martha Levin said Bair By the 1830s, however, would write in detail about the English touring companies crisis, including her conflicts were packaging European with Treasury Secretary Timo- vacations, promising smart thy Geithner, and make recom- itineraries, clean hotels, mendations for the future. good food and informative Bair was among the first guides. Pretty soon Cooks officials to raise concerns was selling books providing about the explosion of high-risk detailed information on lending to borrowers with bad hotels, routes, train schedcredit. The FDIC is charged ules and food. Tourism had with maintaining public confibeen born. dence in the banking system. Paul Theroux’s latest book,
‘ode to a centipede’ should we call this thing a centipede that walks upon our sod or call him by his proper name which is arthropod when we have to buy new footwear we often sing the blues but think if the poor centipede had to purchase shoes another thing that takes the wind out of our sails think of all the time involved if he had to trim his toenails so you see my friends we are fortunate indeed fortunate that we are us and not a centipede — Loren R Chenoweth, Tonganoxie
John F. Kennedy
J. Edgar Hoover
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BEST-SELLERS Franklin Delano Roosevelt
with his publisher about a book on the subject, the publisher “suggested I do it in a historical context.” He found a kindred spirit in Eisenbach, a Columbia University professor, who created and hosted the History Channel program “The Beltway Unbuckled.” Flynt said their book is especially timely now, because with today’s partisan anger fighting for control of the nation’s agenda, “It’s a lot like it was during the Revolution” when the Hamilton-led Federalists waged heated private and public battles with the Jefferson-led Republicans. A primary topic of their disagreements? The role of the federal government in the nation’s banking system. During the early days of the country, the press played an active role going after politicians (the newspapers of the day generally were in the pocket of one side or the other), but after a while such unseemly gossip-mongering gave way to the press protecting presidents (and athletes, movie stars, etc.). Everyone in the White House press corps knew who was having affairs — they just kept quiet. These days, it’s again open season. But such behavior has been going on forever with power-
ful men — “They have huge egos and need to be fed by sexual conquest,” Flynt said — and voters would be silly to think it’s ever going to stop. Or that it should. “Americans need to adopt one simple rule,” the authors write. “Don’t trust anyone who dedicates his or her life to stomping out other people’s consensual sexual activities — it is pretty much guaranteed that lurking behind all the antisex zealotry are deepseated sexual issues.” That’s why former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover also gets his own chapter. Does it matter that Lincoln may have been gay, the book asks. “He was probably one of our best presidents,” Flynt said. And Eisenbach added that Eleanor Roosevelt “was not diminished by being a lesbian.” Hoover’s closeted homosexuality, however, led to a reign of terror on the sex lives of countless politicians — gay and straight. And President Buchanan, whom the book alleges had a 32-year affair with Alabama Sen. William Rufus King, “is one of the great villains of history,” according to Eisenbach. How could a president have a gay affair in the 1850s and it remain unreported?
Here are the best-sellers for the week ending July 16, compiled from data from independ“Homosexuality at the ent and chain bookstores, book time was literally unspeak- wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide. able,” Eisenbach said. He added that having politicians’ sex lives out in Fiction the open would make for a 1. “A Dance with Dragons.” much healthier debate. “It’s absolutely asinine,” George R.R. Martin. Bantam, Eisenbach said, “that a dal- $35. 2. “Now You See Her.” James liance could hijack political Patterson & Michael Ledwidge. discussion.” Besides, he added, “The Little, Brown, $27.99. 3. “Then Came You.” Jennifer coverup is always worse than the crime. It’s impossible to Weiner. Atria, $26.99. 4. “Smokin’ Seventeen.” recover your credibility.” So, in the eyes of the Janet Evanovich. Bantam, $28. 5. “State of Wonder.” Ann authors, is there any sexual behavior that would make a Patchett. Harper, $26.99. 6. “Quinn.” Iris Johansen. St. candidate unfit for office? “Illegal sex acts,” Eisen- Martin’s, $27.99. 7. “Before I Go to Sleep.” S.J. bach said. “Like with a minor. Watson. Harper, $25.99. That should disqualify.” 8. “Against All Enemies.” Otherwise, nothing’s going to change. The book makes Tom Clancy with Peter Telep. its case that powerful people Putnam, $28.95. 9. “One Summer.” David Balgo after what they want, and the rest of us might as well dacci. Grand Central, $25.99. 10. “Iron House.” John Hart. expect that and move on. The more that politicians repress Thomas Dunne, $25.99. 11. “The Silent Girl.” Tess their sexual instincts, the book alleges, the more trou- Gerritsen. Ballantine, $26. 12. “Maine.” J. Courtney Sullibling their decision-making van. Knopf, $25.95. often becomes. 13. “The Girl Who Kicked the But don’t expect the nation to give up its fascination with Hornet’s Nest.” Stieg Larsson. Knopf, $27.95. sex scandals any time soon. 14. “The Paris Wife.” Paula “It’s like a car crash,” Flynt said. “Everyone wants to stop McLain. Ballantine, $25. 15. “The Devil Colony.” and look. When it comes to sex scandals, everyone wants James Rollins. Morrow, $27.99. 16. “Silver Girl.” Elin Hilderto know more.” brand. L,B/Reagan Arthur, $26.99.
Veteran writer Paul Theroux explores the nature, history of travel in latest book Kassie May, college student, Tonganoxie “’Smokin’ Seventeen’ by Janet Evanovich. It’s about Stephanie Plum, who’s a bounty hunter.”
“The Tao of Travel,” is a magical compendium of scribbling, thoughts, sidelong glances, poetic for- Theroux ays and compelling arguments concerning the metaphysical and physical nature of travel itself, the history of travel writing, along with exemplars of the greatest insights and observations of both modern and ancient travelers, each introduced by Theroux’s own marvelous “take” on travel and travel writing. The physical book itself is a marvel, consisting of a fauxgrainy-leather cover with an amazing little “strap” to hold the book closed, presumably making it suitable for the backpack. Its paper is onionskin, and the print is a classic type set off by superb illustrations, maps and italics. An excellent index refers the reader to numerous writers and their works. As a pastime it is unsurpassed; as a reference work it
will lead the reader to countless books both mainstream and recondite. There has been no book like it produced for the mass market that I can recall. Theroux’s avowed aim, stated explicitly in a lovely preface, is to show “in its approaches to travel, ways of living and thinking too.” Thus, the Tao, an ancient Chinese mystical “path” toward peace and freedom, becomes a metaphor for ways of undertaking both the spiritual and existential side of human life, which is to say, the “importance of elsewhere.” As Chekhov once said, “If you’re afraid of loneliness, don’t marry,” so too it might be said, if you’re afraid of loneliness, don’t undertake real travel. And so we confront the first Tao of travel: Leave home and travel alone — admonitions modern tourists won’t countenance, considering that one Hilton Hotel is much like another, down to the sheets and the food, which is also to say that most modern tourism consists of staying at home from thousands of miles away. I
know people who fly to the Caribbean in a jumbo jet and stay at a Holiday Inn, eat hamburgers and swim in the pool. The Tao of travel is divided into 27 discrete chapters with titles like “It is Solved By Walking,” “Everything is Edible Somewhere,” “Evocative Name, Disappointing Place,” “Dangerous, Happy, Alluring,” “Travel as Ordeal,” and even “Staying Home.” At regular intervals, the book launches into a section called “Travel Wisdom,” bits of philosophy from famous travelers like Henry Fielding, Robert Louis Stevenson, Freya Stark and Claude LeviStrauss, each of which is carefully chosen to illustrate some travel dynamic that has caught Theroux’s always perceptive eye. The travel narrative is the oldest in the world. Theroux himself has been at it for 50 years and has written some of our boldest, most idiosyncratic, keenly observed and ingenious books. From “The Old Patagonian Express” to “Dark Star Safari,” Theroux has walked the walk and followed the Path.
Nonfiction 1. “A Stolen Life.” Jaycee Dugard. Simon & Schuster, $24.99. 2. “Go the **** to Sleep.” Adam Mansbach, illus. by Ricardo Cortes. Akashic,$14.95. 3. “Unbroken.” Laura Hillenbrand. Random House, $27. 4. “In the Garden of Beasts.” Erik Larson. Crown, $26. 5. “The 17 Day Diet.” Dr. Mike Moreno. Free Press, $25. 6. “Of Thee I Zing.” Laura Ingraham with Raymond Arroyo. Threshold, $25. 7. “Bossypants.” Tina Fey. LB/Reagan Arthur, $26.99. 8. “The 4-Hour Body.” Timothy Ferriss. Crown, $27. The Greater Journey.” 9. “T David McCullough. Simon & Schuster, $37.50. 10. “The Dukan Diet.” Dr. Pierre Dukan. Crown, $26. 11. “Seal Team Six.” Howard E. Wasdin & Stephen Templin. St. Martin’s, $26.99. 12. “Love Wins.” Rob Bell. HarperOne, $22.99. 13. “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me.” Chelsea’s Family, Friends & Other Victims. Grand Central, $24.99. 14. “Through My Eyes.” Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker. Harper, $26.99. 15. “Sex on the Moon.” Ben Mezrich. Doubleday, $26.95. 16. “Reckless Endangerment.” Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner. Times Books, $30.