When I run across an “older” book at a public library, a few things go through my mind. First, there is a likelihood that it will be a good book. It has earned it’s spot on the shelf next to all the latest and greatest to hit the publishers. The “Pulitzer Prize Winner” stamp confirms that at least someone thinks it was worth it. The second thing I think is, “Is that blood or sauce?” Library books get handled by so many people (hopefully), and since this one was printed in 1959, it’s safe to say that plenty of library-goers have left their literal marks on it.
At first, I was tempted to say that this book is too long. It is 616 pages, but it also has all the excitement of a “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” meets “House of Cards” experience. I actually found myself reading with my hands clasped under my chin, hoping that my suspicions were correct, and rejoicing every time I was right. I’m not ashamed to admit that I even shed a tear or two.
The story centers around the US Senate hearing to confirm the President’s choice for Secretary of State. I’m impressed at how well-timed my reading of this story is since our United States Senate has just begun its own confirmation hearings to do the exact same thing. The world’s concerns of that era regarding the Space Race and the threat of Communism are vividly portrayed.
More importantly, it is a book about judgement. “How could society continue if all whose hands were soiled with human living permitted themselves to be forever after paralyzed? It could not be. In any case, the distinctions were not clear enough. Who were the judges and who the judged, and who among them perfect enough to say, I am right and you are wrong?”
Rating = 4