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This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital | [Mark Leibovich]

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! - in America's Gilded Capital

The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash. What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the nation's most acclaimed journalists, The New York Times' Mark Leibovich, presents a blistering, penetrating, jaw-dropping - and often hysterical - look at Washington’s incestuous "media industrial complex".

The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you're indicted, how many scandals you've been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother's milk of politics, cash.

In Mark Leibovich’s remarkable look at the way things really work in D.C., a funeral for a beloved television star becomes the perfect networking platform, a disgraced political aide can emerge with more power than his boss, campaign losers befriend their vanquishers (and make more money than ever!), "conflict of interest" is a term lost in translation, political reporters are fetishized and worshipped for their ability to get one's name in print, and, well - we're all really friends, aren't we?

What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation's capital.

©2013 Mark Leibovich (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Edo Hirosaki, Japan 08-26-13
    Edo Hirosaki, Japan 08-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting Peek Behind the Political Curtain"

    Leibovich provides an interesting look into the world of politics in Washington, D.C. with the perspective of an insider who's usually an observer of those who wield the power. The story flowed well and did a very good job of explaining how everything and everyone in D.C. are (incestuously?) related and connected. For political junkies and lovers of the TV Series, The West Wing, this book will provide a thrill that shows what makes Washington tick.

    Definitely worth reading if you're interested in American politics!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Louisville, KY, United States 06-14-14
    Karen Louisville, KY, United States 06-14-14
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    "A Lot of Fun and a Bit Depressing"

    This is a great book. Very funny, but very depressing. Mark Leibovich is hysterical, but the underside of media coverage of politics...and worse, the revolving door among government, media, lobbying, government, media, private industry, etc made me concerned for the survival of our republic. Who's in charge, and who's paying attention? Apparently, I haven't been. I look at a lot of our media outlets differently now. Whose interest do they serve? More importantly, whose interest do our elected officials serve?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. W. Lester Livingston, MT 05-06-14
    C. W. Lester Livingston, MT 05-06-14

    RavenB

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    "An inside look from a junkie who can't quit"
    Any additional comments?

    Have you ever had a friend who nurtured a vice to the level of art form? Maybe he's always got a story about the times he's gotten royally wasted -- the one where he passed out naked on the steps of the fraternity house with all of his body hair shaved off and a dozen penises drawn on him in Sharpie. Maybe she's the party animal who breathlessly tells you about the time she was tripping so hard she saw Jesus riding a unicorn while Bob Marley played a funky reggae rendition of "Ride of the Valkyries". Maybe he's the guy with a hundred stories of nearly getting shot, stabbed or pummeled by jealous lovers as he escaped from some late-night tryst with yet another pretty face. Whatever the misdeeds, they'll finish their story by shaking their head and saying, "I've gotta stop doing this" -- but you see that glint in their eyes, the grin they can't quite wipe off their face, and you know they love it way too much to give it up.

    That's the feeling I get from listening to This Town.Mark Leibovich describes the antics of the DC crowd -- variously called "This Town," "The Club", "The Gang of Five Hundred", or most blandly, "The Establishment" -- with the same rueful glee as your friend with the unhealthy love of the bottle, the pill, or the conquest. Leibovich is self-aware enough to realize that his community is ethically bankrupt, outrageously out of touch with reality, and contemptibly self-involved ... but his Serious Face keeps slipping, and he can never muster the outrage that is an outsider's only rational response to his exposé. The most he can manage is to paint a picture, sardonically, of what DC people actually think about the events that surround them, when all of the spin and "messaging" are stripped away. The end result is plenty outrageous and disgusting without him even needing to layer on any moralizing commentary. Ironically, by presenting himself as a near-totally unapologetic insider to the world he uncovers, he ends up coming off as a lot more credible and authentic than the hordes of writers and pundits who wax holier-than-thou about the way business is done in Washington.

    The Washington elite inhabit hypocrisy like a fish inhabits water, so surrounded by it that they are rarely even conscious of its existence. This astonishing cognitive dissonance is what Leibovich portrays the most vividly and effectively. It's not that these people are bad, at least not in the sense of being ill-intentioned; they're just so monumentally self-absorbed, so trapped in their bubble of self-congratulation and mutual admiration, that every aspect of their lives has become hollow and inauthentic. Leibovich shows how even the supremely well-intentioned get waylaid, co-opted and subverted by the Washington machine; the Obama people, fresh from the 2008 campaign with big plans about how they're going to "change the game in Washington", illustrate this especially well. Nobody inside the Beltway lost much sleep about the Obama Change Brigade, because they knew from the start what the Obamas didn't discover until too late: You don't change Washington. Washington changes you.

    Special props go to the narrator for this production, Joe Barrett. He perfectly conveys the sardonic, self-aware tone of Leibovich's book, as well as the genuine pleasure that he feels in the company of these people whom we, the audience, are so ready to be disgusted by. It would have been easy to get the feel wrong on this book, but Barrett nails it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose Marie Holt Nampa, ID USA 03-12-14
    Rose Marie Holt Nampa, ID USA 03-12-14
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    "Mark Leibovich needs therapy"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The idea was intriguing but the execution was too much about the author who wasn't that compelling. No context.


    What was most disappointing about Mark Leibovich’s story?

    It was too much about him.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    I cannot recall


    Was This Town worth the listening time?

    It's good for casual reading. I prefer long stuff.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend checking this one out of the library or shopping remainders where it probably is by now

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Mitchell St. Louis, MO USA 02-20-14
    Mark Mitchell St. Louis, MO USA 02-20-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "At some point, enough much is enough"
    What did you like best about This Town? What did you like least?

    The author is clearly writing from first person and he just as clearly isn't making any of this up. It'd just be too weird to be fiction.

    Somewhere near the end of the first book, I thought, "Sweet Jesus...there's more?" And I just couldn't go on. Bad enough I found myself driving along whispering, "The horror...the horror" as the first book played out.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something fictional. Likely with magic. Where bad guys are clearly marked by their black robes, bad haircuts, and evil laughs. And where said bad guys get beheaded on a regular basis. Seriously need a palate cleanse.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The old, wily congressman saying that he really did think it was important to remember peoples' birthdays and anniversaries. That was so perversely endearing.


    Was This Town worth the listening time?

    Yes; and it was worth knowing when to stop.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    fred Lincoln University, PA, United States 02-16-14
    fred Lincoln University, PA, United States 02-16-14
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    "AUDIBLE TECHNICAL SUPPORTIS THE WORST!!!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    BEING ABLE TO RESUME LISTENING AFTER THE FIRST 5 HOUR SEGMENT. WOULD NOT OPERATE AFTER THAT POINT, DESPITE MULTIPLE ATTEMPTS.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of This Town?

    WILL LET YOU KNOW IF I EVER GET A CHANCE TO LISTEN TO THE WHOLE WORK.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    TBD


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    TBD


    Any additional comments?

    ENHANCE YOUR TECH SUPPORT. 30 MINUTE WAIT TIMES WON'T GET IT DONE IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shinky bloomfield, NJ, United States 01-19-14
    shinky bloomfield, NJ, United States 01-19-14
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    "Funny wicked, cynical"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    "This Town" is a guilty pleasure that reveals the similarities between the daily doings of Big Government in DC and your average American high school. Bulllies abound, ambition is as necessary as good hair, people get ousted and are sometimes allowed to return and meritocracy remains only a lofty goal. I just wish that Liebovich included one big apology (to everyone he savages) at the end instead of repeatedly disavowing his unkind / devastating comments immediately after. It's snarky and reminds me of the lame of apologies of an insult comic after he trashes an unwitting audience member.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was the encounter of two journalists at the bar mitzvah of David Brooks' son. As one of the journalists gives the other a "heads up" that he will be trashing him in tomorrow's column--during the traditional Jewish circle dance--the other says: "I cannot believe you are telling me this DURING THE HORA!" The narrator delivers this line with such relish!


    Any additional comments?

    Joe Barrett gives a terrific performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MoMo Washington, DC 01-16-14
    MoMo Washington, DC 01-16-14
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    "Great juicy gossip book with a message"
    Any additional comments?

    One of the audiobooks I truly enjoyed listening to, and one that I recommend. I live in DC so l liked the salacious gossip about personalities. It also disappointed me to here how many people in this city (politicians, media personalities, lobbyists) are getting rich by sucking at the government teat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David APO, AE, United States 12-08-13
    David APO, AE, United States 12-08-13

    Clarkplus

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    "DC From an Insider's View"

    I was surprised at just how well written this book was. The author was constantly entertaining and making me laugh while providing some great information. I would recommend this book to all political junkies but, be warned, when you are finished with the book Washington, politics, and journalism will have a different meaning.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bulldogscm Burlington, Vermont, United States 12-02-13
    Bulldogscm Burlington, Vermont, United States 12-02-13

    Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funny, Juicy and Interesting"

    After reading Leibovich's book, I came away with a pretty different view of Washington. I dislike it even more. However, this was just a fun book to listen to. Barrett is a gifted story teller and I had several instances of out loud laughter at some of the antics of the people that run our country right now from the lobbyists to the Beltway Club to the White House. This covers it all and doesn't spare anyone. There is some overlap here with Game Change and Collision 2012 but only towards the end. There is significant emphasis on the journalism crowd as well as Hill staffers and the "wanna-be's" of Washington.

    However, it's just fun. It was somewhat slow for me to get into but I became more interested in the middle of the book. The piece on Harry Reid was very insightful but would have wanted more on Hillary and Obama.

    Regardless, it was fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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