Monday, October 13, 2014

All the Truth is Out - Matt Bai

My review today for non-crime Monday is All the Truth is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid. My review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and I am reposting it here today with their permission. I wasn't old enough to vote when the Gary Hart scandal occurred but I remember it well. What a different journalistic world we live in since this happened....

First line: "To get to the tiny village of Kittredge, Colorado, which for five days in 1987 became the unlikely center of the political solar system, you have to take the interstate about ten miles west of Denver and then follow Bear Creek Avenue as it winds its way up the mountain."

In 1987 Gary Hart enjoyed a substantial lead not only for the Democratic nomination but also in the overall Presidential race. Then an altogether unprecedented journalistic earthquake shattered the foundation of his bid for the nation’s highest office and forever changed the landscape of American politics. Matt Bai (The Argument) examines Hart’s campaign and the world of journalism to illuminate why this promising presidential hopeful ended up disgraced unlike any before him and any since.

Bai details the impact Nixon and Watergate had on the news world. Writers vowed never to be embarrassed by a politician’s deceit to that degree again. Add the tantalizing celebrity of Woodward and Bernstein’s success, and when Tom Fiedler of the Miami Herald received an anonymous tip Hart was having an illicit affair, he set out to catch Hart in the act and uncover a scandal.

The story, familiar to most Americans over the age of 40, hasn’t been recorded quite the way it happened. Bai lays out a timeline contradicting the widely held course of events, and questions the rationale reporters used to justify their then-unheard of behavior. Bai says, “the cardinal objective of all political journalism had shifted, from a focus on agendas to a focus on narrow notions of character, from illuminating worldviews to exposing falsehoods.”

Bai narrates Gary Hart’s story from a new perspective, one that is haunting in the shadows of America’s current state of affairs, and one that will leave readers wondering just how much would be different today if the scandal never happened.

All the Truth is Out is available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0307273383) from Alfred A. Knopf. There is also an unabridged audiobook (ISBN: 978-0553399851), narrated by Rob Shapiro, from Random House Audio.

1 comments:

Lauren October 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM  

I'm not much of a political reader, but this book is an exception. I find this arena fascinating and hadn't heard of this book before you told me about it. Thanks for reviewing, it's on the TBR.

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