Robert A. Heinlein
I first read this book a looooong time ago, when I was young and impressionable. Unfortunately, I have to say the years have not improved it. I know a little more than I did 50 years ago and no longer admire characters that are thinly disguised versions of the author, complete with misogyny and homophobia. There are pages and pages of preachiness that don’t add anything to the book, and actively take away from the story. There is Heinlein’s deliberate misunderstanding and misinterpretation of chosen Bible verses to discredit the Bible.
I could go on, but the only redeeming portions of this book are Jubal’s interpretation of Rodin’s sculptures. Those I could read and reread. The rest of it—meh.
I seem to be reading a lot of political books lately, both fiction and non-fiction. Things don’t seem to have changed much in the 51 years since Heinlein wrote this, except politicians lie openly and blatantly now and no one seems to care.
When The Great Lorenzo Smythe™. aka Larry Smith, is approached by a group of staffers to take on a temporary assignment acting as a double for the great leader Joseph Bonforte, he reluctantly agrees. It’s not his normal thing, he is a classically trained actor, but the money offered is good, and it’s a short-term gig. Unfortunately, it turns out to be more than he bargained for.
The pleasure in reading this book is the glimpse of the inner workings of a major politician. I said that things haven’t change much because I’m reading Al Franken: Giant of the Senate, and what he writes about resembles Heinlein’s book. I also just finished Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream It all comes down to how well the politician surrounds himself with a competent staff so he can focus on the big stuff and trust them to handle the day-do-day details.
Although fiction, the novel rings true, and is just as applicable today as it was 51 years ago.