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The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Long before Robert Novak became the center of a political firestorm in the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal, he had established himself as one of the finest—and most controversial—political reporters in America. Now, in this sweeping, monumental memoir, Novak offers the first full account of his involvement in that affair, while also revealing the fascinating story of his ...more
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Crown Forum
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Mar 16, 2011 Ruza rated it it was amazing
Political buffs and nerds, this is the perfect book. The stories are amazing and Robert Novak is just incredibly smart, articulate, funny and what a wonderful story teller he is and what a memory he had. It's amazing how long his career spanned in the political and reporting world. His passion for politics and reporting the truth is astounding and so refreshing. In our day in age of gadgets, satellites, ipads, iphones, you name it we can get the news within seconds, but the news these days is ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Political nerds and Gen J enthusiasts
Recommended to Amy by: Graham Harman via my Dad
After four years of trying, I have finally finished The Prince of Darkness by Robert Novak.
That’s saying something.
It normally does not take me four years to finish a book. In fact, it rarely takes me more than a week if I’m busy. I began this book because this guy recommended it to my Dad. Being an ambitious kid, I decided to pick it up. And I enjoyed it. A lot. But, if you hadn’t noticed, it’s a little bit thick. It’s a little bit dry. It’s, frankly, just a little bit intimidating. I would
Benjamin Wetmore
Jul 20, 2009 Benjamin Wetmore rated it it was amazing
What's remarkable about this biography is the gritting detail it offers - full of information you know you aren't meant to know, which becomes a statement about Novak's life that becomes the true memoir: that he sought to free information and project information to a public when all the other government and journalistic sources sought to contain, seal and protect the information.

Whereas the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 sought to burn books instead of put out the fires, modern journalists set o
Dec 02, 2013 John rated it really liked it

Robert Novak was famously disagreeable and curmudgeonly, so much so that one of his acquaintances stopped inviting him to dinner parties, calling him “the Prince of Darkness”. With this outstanding memoir, Novak owns that sobriquet, and demonstrates why he was one of the best political reporters in Washington DC for nearly fifty years.

In this book, Novak begins with his role in the Valarie Plame affair, and then backtracks to talk about how he became a reporter, and later how he partnered with R

Jul 03, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: reference-books
Is it possible to say that something was a long, hard slog, but in a good way? This is a massive tome--almost 700 pages--but to cover 50 years of political history, you need a high page count. This work is an interesting combination of autobiography (of the writer, obviously), biography (of virtually every major political player since Truman), history and political gossip. In fact, I think you could probably get a reasonable primer on modern American history just by reading this.

I had never read
Marty Acks
Apr 16, 2013 Marty Acks rated it really liked it
This book was on my parent's bookshelf. That caused me to read it.

I did enjoy the book, but it is probably not for everyone. This voyeuristic memoir plods through Novak's 50+ year career. It is long and full of anecdotes about a wide cast of political characters. He is an interesting character himself, at one moment arrogant and the next revealing of professional and personal faults that many would be reluctant to share.

The one thing that kept growing on me as I read this book was how narcissis
Paul SHane
Apr 08, 2015 Paul SHane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provides a behind the scenes glimpse of Washington politics from Kennedy to G.W. Bush. Interestingly Novak, considered a right wing commentator later in his career, was a fan of Kennedy and Reagan but not Johnson, Ford, Carter, H.W.Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush. You find out why in this book...with some of the dislike due to Novak's own harsh reporting.

I think the most enlightening aspect is to learn how the press is used by all sides in D.C. by intentionally leaking stories in order to ga
Dec 11, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, biography
A fascinating look at the career of a consummate Washington insider -- whose column I have read religiously for 10 years. The insider tidbits are as delicious as one would expect, but Novak also gives a surprisingly candid personal account of his life, warts and all, as a DC workaholic. Anyone with an interest in national politics of the last 50 years will find much to enjoy here. Those who have worked in DC and watched Crossfire, Capital Gang, McLaughlin Group, etc. are in for a special treat. ...more
Mar 29, 2009 Christopher rated it liked it
This was a solid memoir reflecting over a long career of investigative journalism in Washington, DC. Its especially refreshing because of Novak's candor and the fact that he wants to name names and, if not settle score, at least male sure that his side of the story gets out. Novak does, occasionally, sound a bit cranky, and its amazing how many people he is no longer on speaking terms with. Although he attributes this largely to ideology, there is no escaping the conclusion that Novak is a ...more
David Bunnell
Dec 17, 2009 David Bunnell rated it it was amazing
I sometimes liked Robert Novak and often agreed with him. I also have often disagreed and thought he was a little pompus. He is still a little pompus, but I love this book. Novak evokes the best and worst of the golden age of journalism. Nowadays, with everyone (including adolescent Hollywood actors) claiming to be journalists, Novak shows us what a real journalist was all about. Highly recommended.
Tom Stamper
Oct 31, 2013 Tom Stamper rated it it was amazing
Novak's book is thorough and yet well-told that is feels much shorter than it's 600+ pages. It's a whole life boiled down to the essentials and this guy just does not care to hold anything back. He will tell you why John McGlaughlin is an egomaniac bore and why CNN was great in the early days. And much more.
Jan 17, 2015 Jerry rated it really liked it
Robert Novak’s memoir covers his life from 1957 working for the Associated Press, through his 30-year partnership with Rowly Evans, and is bookended by the Plame affair. It’s very engaging, making you feel as much an insider as he dared as a conservative writer in a congenitally liberal town.
Sep 06, 2009 Baxter rated it really liked it
An outstanding autobiography - long, though very conversational. I liked this book because: I have always like Bob Novak; I am a conservative; I love American history and I very much am drawn to the narratives on American politics (here 50 years worth - most of my life). I'd say you need at least three of these characteristics to enjoy the book as much as I did!
Daniel Beutler
Feb 13, 2011 Daniel Beutler rated it liked it
Very entertaining. Whether the author's high opinion of himself was justified, well...inconclusive, but it was an obstacle to thoroughly enjoying this book. But good historical perspective and worthwhile insider anecdotes. Sure, they're true; they're all true!
Aug 06, 2012 Brent rated it really liked it
This book was a gift from Joseph. Novak unfortunately passed away last year, after I had started this fine autobiographical book. Novak provides insight into national politics and politicians, and political commentators in the public media.
Don McNay
Mar 11, 2015 Don McNay rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to be part of a program with Bob Novak as he was promoting this book. The opposite of his public persona, he was a terrific gentlemen and the book is a great, candid and fascinating biography of a man who made history along with writing about it.
Jan 22, 2010 David rated it really liked it
It is hard to like Robert Novak (even when he is describing himself), but this is a fascinating book. I am enjoying reliving our history over the last 50 years.
Nathan Foy
Mar 22, 2010 Nathan Foy rated it really liked it
Fun. Novak has 50 years of inside baseball in DC. Read if you like politics. Great firsthand accounts of Carter, Reagan, Nixon. Novak calls em like he sees em and doesn't care what others think.
Jun 14, 2008 Liviu rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

I rarely read current political books but while I do not agree always with Mr. Novak, I like his style and political reporting and his memoir was quite interesting
Mar 31, 2008 Nathan rated it it was ok
I couldn't finish this book. It felt like I was reading a political version of People magazine. Some very interesting stories, but mostly political gossip.
Clint rated it really liked it
Jun 15, 2011
Mary rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2008
Talmadge East
Talmadge East rated it it was ok
May 10, 2011
Scott rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2013
Willie Tulloch
Willie Tulloch rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2015
Isaac rated it liked it
Mar 02, 2010
Jordan Long
Jordan Long rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2016
Evan Gassman
Evan Gassman rated it really liked it
Jan 25, 2013
Michael Sotiriou
Michael Sotiriou rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2016
Laura Meyerovich
Laura Meyerovich rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2014
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Robert David Sanders "Bob" Novak is a conservative American political commentator and journalist who writes the longest-running current U.S. syndicated political column (45 years, as of February 2008). Over his 45 year career, Bob Novak has become well-known as a columnist (writing Inside Report since 1963) and as a television personality (appearing on many shows for CNN, most notably on three ...more
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