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Publisher's Summary

“What would happen if the president of the USA went stark-raving mad?” Back by popular demand, The New York Times calls the 1965 best-selling political thriller by the author of Seven Days in May “A little too plausible for comfort”.

How can one man convince the highest powers in Washington that the president of the US is dangerously unstable - before it’s too late?

Senator Jim MacVeagh is proud to serve his country - and his president, Mark Hollenbach, who has a near-spotless reputation as the vibrant, charismatic leader of MacVeagh’s party and the nation. When Hollenbach begins taking MacVeagh into his confidence, the young senator knows his star is on the rise.

But then Hollenbach starts summoning MacVeagh in the middle of the night to Camp David. There, the president sits in the dark and rants about his enemies, unfurling insane theories about all the people he says are conspiring against him. They would do anything, President Hollenbach tells the stunned senator, to stop him from setting in motion the grand, unprecedented plans he has to make America a great world power once again. 

MacVeagh comes away from these meetings increasingly convinced that the man he once admired has lost his mind. But what can he do? Who can he tell? 

©2018 Fletcher Knebel (P)2018 Random House Audio

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    21
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    7
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    33
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    14
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    6
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    2
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Story

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    29
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    8
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ultimately Unsatisfying

Given our current political reality, I don't think anything could have kept me from picking this up. A 50 year old story about a paranoid, mentally incompetent president? Was Fletcher Knebel a modern(ish) day Nostradamus?

Sadly no. Night of Camp David satisfies neither as a road map for dealing with crisis or as a fun political thriller. The president we meet (straight as an arrow, war hero, hyper-moral and hyper-competent but experiencing a decline) bears no resemblance to the current White House occupant. And the political thrills are pretty tame. Chekhov mentioned a gun but I think if you introduce missing mental health medical records in the first act, you should use them by the third.

And even the most forgiving reader is going to find "the way things were" in 1965 rather jarring when read in 2018. There are literally no women in power in this novel and while that is accurate enough for the '60s, I could do without Martha's apology to her husband for driving him into the arms of another woman with all of the committee work that kept her from home. I think the Feminine Mystique was out in paperback by the time of this novel. Martha--do yourself a favor and pick up a copy! Interestingly, Knebel seems to want to semi-acknowledge racism, but the late-breaking introduction of "the negro senator" from Chicago, engaging in friendly banter with the segregationist from Louisiana, didn't do much for me.

Still, the premise is just too juicy to ignore and I am glad it was republished, if only to save me from hunting it down in used bookstores. But it's neither instructive nor particularly entertaining.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Out of date but timely

I really enjoyed this book — partly because, set in relief to the current presidency, It shows what a different world we live in as of 2016. The office of the president has declined fundamentally, alas, as has the expectation of privacy, ironically, considering one of the points of the book is the importance of privacy.
The characters are nicely drawn, the pace is perfect, and the ending unexpected. The gender dynamics leave much to be desired, but that’s no surprise considering when it was written. A thriller with no car chases or violence, but thrilling nonetheless!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Timely look at Presidential transfer of power

So glad I picked up this book — though the references to pay phones and government programs costs $250,000 were quaint, the questions I was left with about the limits the powers of other branches of government to really question Presidential sanity will haunt e for a while.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • TiffanyD
  • 11-27-18

Ultimately Unsatisfying

Given our current political reality, I don't think anything could have kept me from picking this up. A 50 year old story about a paranoid, mentally incompetent president? Was Fletcher Knebel a modern(ish) day Nostradamus?

Sadly no. Night of Camp David satisfies neither as a road map for dealing with crisis or as a fun political thriller. The president we meet (straight as an arrow, war hero, hyper-moral and hyper-competent but experiencing a decline) bears no resemblance to the current White House occupant. And the political thrills are pretty tame. Chekhov mentioned a gun but I think if you introduce missing mental health medical records in the first act, you should use them by the third.

And even the most forgiving reader is going to find "the way things were" in 1965 rather jarring when read in 2018. There are literally no women in power in this novel and while that is accurate enough for the '60s, I could do without Martha's apology to her husband for driving him into the arms of another woman with all of the committee work that kept her from home. I think the Feminine Mystique was out in paperback by the time of this novel. Martha--do yourself a favor and pick up a copy! Interestingly, Knebel seems to want to semi-acknowledge racism, but the late-breaking introduction of "the negro senator" from Chicago, engaging in friendly banter with the segregationist from Louisiana, didn't do much for me.

Still, the premise is just too juicy to ignore and I am glad it was republished, if only to save me from hunting it down in used bookstores. But it's neither instructive nor particularly entertaining.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mary
  • 11-26-18

Out of date but timely

I really enjoyed this book — partly because, set in relief to the current presidency, It shows what a different world we live in as of 2016. The office of the president has declined fundamentally, alas, as has the expectation of privacy, ironically, considering one of the points of the book is the importance of privacy.
The characters are nicely drawn, the pace is perfect, and the ending unexpected. The gender dynamics leave much to be desired, but that’s no surprise considering when it was written. A thriller with no car chases or violence, but thrilling nonetheless!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Holly E. Humphreys
  • 12-27-18

Timely look at Presidential transfer of power

So glad I picked up this book — though the references to pay phones and government programs costs $250,000 were quaint, the questions I was left with about the limits the powers of other branches of government to really question Presidential sanity will haunt e for a while.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • TiffanyD
  • 11-27-18

Ultimately Unsatisfying

Given our current political reality, I don't think anything could have kept me from picking this up. A 50 year old story about a paranoid, mentally incompetent president? Was Fletcher Knebel a modern(ish) day Nostradamus?

Sadly no. Night of Camp David satisfies neither as a road map for dealing with crisis or as a fun political thriller. The president we meet (straight as an arrow, war hero, hyper-moral and hyper-competent but experiencing a decline) bears no resemblance to the current White House occupant. And the political thrills are pretty tame. Chekhov mentioned a gun but I think if you introduce missing mental health medical records in the first act, you should use them by the third.

And even the most forgiving reader is going to find "the way things were" in 1965 rather jarring when read in 2018. There are literally no women in power in this novel and while that is accurate enough for the '60s, I could do without Martha's apology to her husband for driving him into the arms of another woman with all of the committee work that kept her from home. I think the Feminine Mystique was out in paperback by the time of this novel. Martha--do yourself a favor and pick up a copy! Interestingly, Knebel seems to want to semi-acknowledge racism, but the late-breaking introduction of "the negro senator" from Chicago, engaging in friendly banter with the segregationist from Louisiana, didn't do much for me.

Still, the premise is just too juicy to ignore and I am glad it was republished, if only to save me from hunting it down in used bookstores. But it's neither instructive nor particularly entertaining.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mary
  • 11-26-18

Out of date but timely

I really enjoyed this book — partly because, set in relief to the current presidency, It shows what a different world we live in as of 2016. The office of the president has declined fundamentally, alas, as has the expectation of privacy, ironically, considering one of the points of the book is the importance of privacy.
The characters are nicely drawn, the pace is perfect, and the ending unexpected. The gender dynamics leave much to be desired, but that’s no surprise considering when it was written. A thriller with no car chases or violence, but thrilling nonetheless!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Holly E. Humphreys
  • 12-27-18

Timely look at Presidential transfer of power

So glad I picked up this book — though the references to pay phones and government programs costs $250,000 were quaint, the questions I was left with about the limits the powers of other branches of government to really question Presidential sanity will haunt e for a while.