Made it through some summer reading: “Barons of the Beltway” by Michelle Fields

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Perhaps you recall the incident with Donald Trump’s campaign manager yanking on a reporter and shoving her away from Mr. Trump?  (You can always watch the slow-mo here if you’re really interested.  Judge for yourself if it qualified as battery or not.)  At any rate, the reporter, Michelle Fields, has recently released a book entitled “Barons of the Beltway” – an expose on the privileged, elitist world of our politicians in Washington D.C.

I don’t think Ms. Field’s “Note to the Reader” intro- which told her side of the “battered-by-Trump’s-campaign-manager” story was beneficial to the book, primarily because it revealed a propensity to hype and exaggeration.  This in turn triggers within the reader a need to beware; an instinctual suspicion that the book will not attempt objectivity.

But I plunged on and found Ms. Field’s writing style is casual, simplistic, and often angry (though not without reason). I enjoyed her use of historical comparisons and felt she was on target with her insight into modern society’s loss of appreciation for genuine humility.  Ms. Field offered numerous examples of the almost obscene perks of power enjoyed by today’s career politicians, the hypocrisy of lawmakers who exempt themselves from the laws, and the narcissism and favoritism that is rampant in Washington.

The author put forward a number of recommendations for reducing corruption in our political system; among them, voting for term limits for our elected politicians, demanding an end to insider trading, and requiring members of Congress to keep their day jobs.

I enjoyed this book at times, and I certainly didn’t hate it, as did so many other reviewers.   I will concede, however that I could only read small doses at a time, because the tone is scathing and  abrasively angry- not that the recipients of Ms. Field’s criticism aren’t deserving of it.  Democrats are the main targets of Ms. Field’s denouncement, but Republicans- the Bush family in particular- do not get away unscathed. The author successfully demonstrates that today’s politicians – particularly those who’ve made long-term careers in Congress- live in a world far removed from the rest of us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

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