Thursday, September 02, 2010

Advise & Consent
by Allen Drury

So they rode on, old friends from the Senate together carrying their country's hopes, while below America sped away, the kindly, pleasant, greening land about to learn whether history still had a place for a nation so strangely composed of great ideals and uneasy compromise as she.
- Allen Drury, Advise and Consent

Allen Drury was born on this day in 1918, and he died on this day in 1998. I remember reading his greatest novel, Advise and Consent, and seeing the film version in the late 1960s. Drury followed up his first novel with a handful of sequels and over a dozen other books, but none of them came close to the popularity of the 1959 hit — ninety-three weeks on the best-seller list, a play, a movie and a Pulitzer (the Pulitzer Board overriding their committee’s recommendation of Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King). Advise and Consent explores the United States Senate confirmation of controversial Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell who is a former member of the Communist Party. The novel was followed by Drury's A Shade of Difference in 1962 and four additional sequels. While Drury's Advise and Consent is arguably the best of its genre (and may have defined the genre) I have enjoyed others like O'Connor's The Last Hurrah and, more recently, Primary Colors.

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