This Town, the new offering by The New York Times Chief National Correspondent Mark Leibovich is so inside the Beltway  the nation’s capital becomes  a  cul-de-sac.!


Leibovich  promotes the book by warning, ” This Town does not contain an index. Those players wishing to know how they came out will need to read the book.”  The reason the book has attained The New York Times Best Seller List must that every mindless egotist in DC has taken the authors advice. Unless you are a true political junkie there is not much here but it is a fun read for those who love politics and a few bold face names. The book reminds me of  watching cable television on a very light news day!

Light, anecdotal and gossipy, this tome could easily have been named The Club, the high level of membership attainment which the author refers to as the elite of  Washington DC.  In reading This Town it is clear that Leibovich has attained membership in this  esteemed group, having been given the imprimatur of a mention in Playbook.  You will learn that one has not arrived in the DC social media world until so recognized by this daily Politico tip sheet. That honor at one time belonged to The Washington Post, and who knows it may again under the ownership of  Jeff Bezos!

Leibovich is kind to most in the book. Two noteworthy  exceptions are Harry Reid and Arianna Huffington. Harry  Reid apparently never says goodbye during a phone conversation, he just hangs up when he has nothing more to say.

This Town is filled with depressing information for those from out-of-town.  ” But almost no one leaves here anymore. Better to stay and monetize a Washington identity in the humming self-perpetuation machine.”  ” The Atlantic had just reported that in 1974, 3 percent of retiring members of congress became lobbyists. Now 50 percent of senators and 42 percent of congressman do.” The payroll of the influencers eclipses the policymakers. This Town  begs the question, are the influencers in fact the policymakers? There is no recession in Washington

Disingenuous  best describes the daily activities and personal relationships in This Town and the author offers little hope that anything will change. A depressing thought.


How wonderful to discover a highly acclaimed book that perhaps even the avid reader may have overlooked.  That was certainly the case for me when I came across a copy of the 1943 American classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, first published in 1942 , written by Betty Smith.  This is an ” honest and True” novel  about a young and very poor Irish girl and her family living in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1900s.  The book is so autobiographical in nature that there was a 1943 lawsuit by an individual claiming to be the prototype for one of the characters! Young Francie Nolan faces all of the challenges that life could muster including poverty, an alcoholic and yet somewhat heroic father, birth and death and an economy that offered little opportunity for an immigrant family, let alone a young girl.



The story is reminiscent of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes,  but Smith’s portrayal  of the fortitude of Francie sets a very high standard for storytelling. Francie’s mother, brother and the other ” Irish family” members are portrayed in wonderful detail and the book is a valuable insight into a period of American city dwelling immigrant history that is important to readers of any age and gender.

I am glad that this wonderful novel did not escape  me and I highly recommend it to you and any members of your reading family.  Further acclaim for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn came in 1945  when Twentieth Century Fox released the movie, the first film directed by  Elia Kazan.