The Gay Place, by Billy Lee Brammer
“I read this book about 40 years ago, when I was beginning in journalism. It was a novel about the ego-absurdity of politics, and its central character, Texas governor Arthur ‘Goddamn’ Fenstemaker, was inspired by Lyndon Johnson. Brammer understood that great politicians have larger-than-life strengths and weaknesses, and that we should embrace the greasy brilliance of political theater rather than launder it into sterility. Brammer, sadly undervalued, and Fenstemaker, giddily over-the-top, had an enduring impact on the kind of writing I aspired to do and the kind of politician I aspired to write about—in fact and in fiction.”
Recommended by Joe Klein, a columnist for Time magazine and the author of six books, including Primary Colors ($15, amazon.com) and Politics Lost ($16, amazon.com).
To buy: $25, amazon.com.