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Landfall
by Thomas Mallon




Overview -
Set during the tumultuous middle of the George W. Bush years--amid the twin catastrophes of the Iraq insurgency and Hurricane Katrina--Landfall brings Thomas Mallon's cavalcade of contemporary American politics, which began with Watergate and continue with Finale, to a vivid and emotional climax.

The president at the novel's center possesses a personality whose high-speed alternations between charm and petulance, resoluteness and self-pity, continually energize and mystify the panoply of characters around him. They include his acerbic, crafty mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush; his desperately correct and eager-to-please secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice; the gnomic and manipulative Donald Rumsfeld; foreign leaders from Tony Blair to Vladimir Putin; and the caustic one-woman chorus of Ann Richards, Bush's predecessor as governor of Texas. A gallery of political and media figures, from the widowed Nancy Reagan to the philandering John Edwards to the brilliantly contrarian Christopher Hitchens, bring the novel and the era to life.

The story is deepened and driven by a love affair between two West Texans, Ross Weatherall and Allison O'Connor, whose destinies have been affixed to Bush's since they were teenagers in the 1970s. The true believer and the skeptic who end up exchanging ideological places in a romantic and political drama that unfolds in locations from New Orleans to Baghdad and during the parties, press conferences, and state funerals of Washington, D.C.

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More About Landfall by Thomas Mallon

 
 
 

Overview

Set during the tumultuous middle of the George W. Bush years--amid the twin catastrophes of the Iraq insurgency and Hurricane Katrina--Landfall brings Thomas Mallon's cavalcade of contemporary American politics, which began with Watergate and continue with Finale, to a vivid and emotional climax.

The president at the novel's center possesses a personality whose high-speed alternations between charm and petulance, resoluteness and self-pity, continually energize and mystify the panoply of characters around him. They include his acerbic, crafty mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush; his desperately correct and eager-to-please secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice; the gnomic and manipulative Donald Rumsfeld; foreign leaders from Tony Blair to Vladimir Putin; and the caustic one-woman chorus of Ann Richards, Bush's predecessor as governor of Texas. A gallery of political and media figures, from the widowed Nancy Reagan to the philandering John Edwards to the brilliantly contrarian Christopher Hitchens, bring the novel and the era to life.

The story is deepened and driven by a love affair between two West Texans, Ross Weatherall and Allison O'Connor, whose destinies have been affixed to Bush's since they were teenagers in the 1970s. The true believer and the skeptic who end up exchanging ideological places in a romantic and political drama that unfolds in locations from New Orleans to Baghdad and during the parties, press conferences, and state funerals of Washington, D.C.


This item is Non-Returnable.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101871058
  • ISBN-10: 1101871059
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: February 2019
  • Page Count: 496
  • Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Landfall

Long before first lady Laura Bush mentions The Prime Minister, the fifth of Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels, readers familiar with his sextet of political works will have detected the similarity between them and Landfall, Thomas Mallon’s new book. Instead of Prime Minister Plantaganet Palliser and discussions of the Irish Land Tenant Bill, Mallon gives us the first two years of George W. Bush’s second term and its challenges, self-inflicted and otherwise, from the Iraq War to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

The writing style is the same, however, with a huge cast of characters and long conversations about politics. Amid the real-life personages, Mallon has added two that are fictional: Ross Weatherall, a director of the merged National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, where he is updating a 1938 Works Progress Administration guidebook on New Orleans; and Allison O’Connor, a civilian lawyer whom Donald Rumsfeld brings to D.C. to work at the National Security Council as “an assistant to a special assistant to the president.”

Ross and Allie haven’t seen one another since a romantic evening after a 1978 campaign event in Texas, when Bush unsuccessfully ran for Congress. Decades later, when they reunite, Ross is a committed Bush supporter, while Allie questions the wisdom of the Iraq invasion. Their positions evolve, however, as Katrina and other events force them to recalibrate.

Throughout Landfall, Mallon shifts perspectives among many characters, most notably Condoleezza Rice, portrayed as a relentlessly ambitious person who feels that if Prince Charles “could inherit his one lifelong job, she could be appointed to all of hers.” And he writes many scathing portraits of the era’s figures, including Barbara Bush, who, when she and George H.W. Bush call on dying former Texas governor Ann Richards, wants nothing more than to hurry the visit along.

If Mallon tries too hard to cram in references to every major news story of the day, Landfall is still a well-researched view of the jealousies and back-room dealings of early 21st-century American politics.

 

BAM Customer Reviews