Friday, April 1, 2016

Dear Great Book Guru, I have found this current election cycle fascinating and wonder how things will all work out. While I have attended a number of debate parties here in Sea Cliff,  I still crave for more insight.  Is there a book you would recommend to help me really understand what’s going on?  Election News Junkie

Dear Election News Junkie,  I just finished a fascinating historical novel that in many ways mirrors our current political scene: IMPERIUM by Robert Harris.  Set in Ancient Rome, it details the political rise of Cicero, one of Rome’s most famous rulers.  His story is told from the perspective of his slave/secretary Tiro, who invented a system of shorthand -vestiges of which we still use ( e.g. &, etc.). The Cicero we meet as a young man is from a modest middle-class background but with extraordinary intelligence and ambition. The  political world he takes on is eerily like our own: vast amounts of money spent to sway voters, the slandering of opponents and their wives,  the demonization/deification of party leaders, and terrorist attacks (in this case pirates) frightening the citizenry.  Yes,  secretly recorded conversations (ala Nixon),  political jaunts,  forged documents, and  crass entertainment-  all   play a part in  Cicero’s first election campaign. We watch with fascination, but also with a feeling of dread as we witness the escalating corruption of Rome and wonder where are we headed? Highly recommended! 

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