The President is Missing

Recommendation: Read if you liked the West Wing and hate Paul Ryan

Where to read: This is perfect for public transport

Read with: Low expectations

In brief: It’s a fun afternoon – a civics lesson for people without the inclination to pay attention to US politics.

The worst thing about this book is probably the fact it’s written, in the most part, in first person and frequently displays all the subtlety of a bull in the congressional gift shop.

The best thing about this book is that said first person is the President of the United States. It’s wonderfully and gloriously cathartic for anyone who thinks today’s Republican Party, and American politics more generally, is screwed beyond belief – an indictment on self-interest and hollow patriotism.

It’s a thrilling reminder (pun intended) that the political system is too dysfunctional and partisan to deal with a genuine crisis (such as, hypothetically speaking of course, Russians hacking into critical US infrastructure and traitors in the White House).

It’s also a rather funny insight into Clinton’s self-image (Bob Carr should take notes) and evident Marilyn Monroe-Kennedy fantasies.

For anyone paying even vague attention to world affairs or the state of American civil society, the themes, language and concerns will be familiar and in all honesty I’d prefer to read a good long Atlantic article or seven by Clinton than this kinda awkward melding of half-discourse, half-thriller.

That said, it’s fun, emotive, occasionally cheeky and an excellent prescription for anyone with no idea what’s going on. For an additional or alternative dose of Presidential shenanigans, Air Force One with Harrison Ford is a hoot.

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