Inspired by the recent release of O: A Presidential Novel, penned by the no-longer-anonymous author, Anonymous (actually Mark Salter, a former adviser to Republican U.S. Senator John McCain), and in anticipation of President Barack Obama’s second State of the Union address, Slate’s chief political correspondent, John Dickerson, wondered in print last week, “Why isn’t there a great novel about political Washington?”
He listed his own favorite works of D.C.-rooted fiction--Gore Vidal’s Washington, D.C. (1967) and Allen Drury’s Pulitzer Award-winning Advise and Consent (1959)--but threw it over to his audience for more suggestions.
So which novel about the political machinations of the U.S. capital wins the most votes from Slate readers? By a long shot, apparently, the choice is Democracy, by Henry Adams. “Written in 1880, it proves my point that we must reach pretty far back into history to find a decent tale about Washington,” writes Dickerson. “Readers said that the book captures the conflict of interests and struggle for power that has the city locked up so tight to this day.”
You’ll find more about Democracy, as well as a list of Slate readers’ runner-up choices, here.